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OC residents, businesses ready for more rain

December 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Flooding has already caused more than $10 million in damage in Laguna Beach alone, and that number could go even higher. Orange County crews were scrambling Wednesday to reinforce danger zones in an effort to avoid even more mudslides.Crews cleared away mud and debris from the road in front of Steve Shounia's store in Trabuco Canyon Wednesday.

"That's the first time in 20 years, I've never seen nothing like this," said Shounia.

Most of the mess is from last week when the hillside gave way during heavy rain. Mud surrounded his business and blocked the road.

It started falling early Wednesday morning. Shounia couldn't help but worry.

"Oh, not again, we're getting tired of this rain. We had so much rain last week and today," said Shounia.

Nearby horses seek cover. Others get a ride out of the canyon as a precaution.

"Very nervous because last week was just unbelievable, going out of the canyon it was just, Wow," said Trabuco Canyon resident Patti Mode.

In Laguna Beach, the animal shelter suffered $800,000 worth of damage last week from the storm. The cleanup continued in the rain Wednesday.

"It's raining pretty heavy but it's within acceptable levels, so far there's no flooding occurring or any additional damage," said Jim Beres, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter.

Next door, sandbags have prevented further flooding at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, also heavily damaged last week.

"We've been able to keep the water outside of the interior of our building but we're basically bracing whatever comes next, but so far so good," said Melissa Sciacca, Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

In downtown Laguna Beach sandbags were lined up outside stores, a reminder of the severe flooding last week that damaged more than 100 businesses and homes and caused more than $10 million in damage. The city is offering free parking through Jan. 2 to entice shoppers back.

In Trabuco Canyon, the creek runs higher, but no major flooding like last week. Steve Shounia is grateful.

"It's not as bad," said Shounia. "I don't like it but it's not as bad as last week. Hopefully just today and it will be over with."


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