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Torrential downpour overwhelms Southland

December 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A surging storm has brought destruction in the form of flooding, trees being topped and evacuations in neighborhoods across Southern California. K-rails have been bolted down and attached to each other in La Canada Flintridge in hopes that it will protect against mudslides.

Donna McLaughlin of La Canada Flintridge lost her home when a 10-foot wall of mud came barreling down the hillside last year. She just moved into her home in October.

"Here we go again," she said.

McLaughlin said last year, the K-rails were not attached or bolted down.

"Had they done that, our house would have at least been saved," she said.

This year, the city learned from that mistake and bolted down the concrete barriers, attaching them together.

Public Works crews are assessing the area routinely.

"Flood controls made the debris basin larger, and they're cleared out, and we're taking care of the roads, whatever mud comes down to the roads, we've got excavators going over in Altadena and working on Canyon Crest," said Paul Deardorff from L.A. County Public Works. "We're just trying to stay on top of it. It seems to be working pretty well."

The rain forced closures of all county roads within the Station Fire burn area at 2 a.m. Sunday including Angeles Forest Highway, Big Tujunga Canyon Road and Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road. Residents living in the burn areas are not permitted to use the roads until the closures are lifted. Residents were advised to remove their vehicles from streets.

The storm is expected to last until Wednesday, with consistent rainfall in the foothills, and then there is a possibility of another storm over the holiday weekend.

A record rainfall of .98 inches was set at Los Angeles International Airport Monday, the most for this date since 1952, according to the National Weather Service.

Rainfall records were also set at Long Beach Airport, where 1.65 inches was recorded, breaking a record set in 1964; and in San Gabriel, where 2.66 inches was recorded at the fire station, breaking the old record of 1.33 inches set in 2002.

In Orange County, heavy downpour has caused trees to crash down onto properties, including a home and a truck.

Residents in the previously burned areas can obtain sandbags from the following locations:

  • Fire Station 24, 9411 Wentworth Street, Sunland
  • Fire Station 91, 14430 Polk Street, Sylmar
  • Council District 2 field office, 7747 Foothill Boulevard, Tujunga
  • Sand and sandbags are available at the vacant lot located at the intersection of Day Street and Pali Avenue, Tujunga

In the event that evacuations orders are issued, the following locations (which are accessible to persons with disabilities) will be used as shelters:

  • Sunland Park Recreation Center, 8651 Foothill Blvd., Sunland, (818) 621-2321
  • Sunland Senior Citizens Center, 8640 Fenwick St. Sunland, (818) 353-9571
The Los Angeles City Emergency Management Department will continue to monitor weather reports and the impact on the previously burned areas throughout the duration of the storm. Additional information is available at:


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