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OC residents clean up, await next storm

December 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The weather may have cleared, but there's no rest in Orange County as work crews get ready for the next storm.

Crews built up the sides of Trabuco Creek all day Monday. Rushing waters through the canyon sent debris downstream over a bridge, forcing a closure last week.

People were trying to recover from last week's storm all across Orange County.

Paul Thier has yet to dig out his truck in Trabuco Canyon that's been buried since last week. Other matters more pressing: His home still has 5 feet of thick mud inside part of it.

"It's mud, it's rock. It's gravel. It's twigs, branches that came down," said Thier.

The debris was carried down from the hillside with the heavy rain.

"We've got the roads done," said Thier. "That took almost a full four days to get the roads out."

On his property were 80 horses. None was injured, but at least a dozen stalls suffered damaged.

"We heard the glass break and the flood just come in, and so we ran upstairs," said Thier.

Thier's brother, who is battling cancer, had to be airlifted out.

In Laguna Beach, workers prepared to re-open a Belgian restaurant. Security video shows more than 2 feet of water pouring into it when the downtown area flooded last week. The business had stayed closed until Monday.

"I lose a lot of money. The holidays, it's busy with the parties, office parties, everything," said chef Thomas Crigns.

Sandbags outside were a reminder of the rain still to come this week.

Workers shoveled mud out of the Blue Bell Foundation for Cats. Volunteers moved about 60 cats to higher ground, where they'll stay for now.

Next to it, a section of the southbound lane of Laguna Canyon Rd. remained closed Monday due to flooding. The boardwalk at Main Beach was structurally damaged and is also off-limits.

Back at Paul Thier's place, cleanup continues. He knows more rain is on the way.

"There's not much more we can really do. We pretty much wait for whatever happens, happens," said Thier. "You really can't predict what Mother Nature is going to do."

Thier was grateful to neighbors who helped him clean up and gave him a place to stay since he couldn't stay at his home.

Laguna Beach officials said more than a hundred businesses and homes suffered flood damage. The estimated damage was at least $4 million, a figure that was expected to grow.


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