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LA residents prepare for weekend storm

January 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
L.A. residents prepped Friday night for the heavy rain, strong winds and snow approaching Southern California this weekend.

Ventura saw the first of the rain late in the evening as light showers began to fall there. The storm is coming down from Northern California where it caused several problems in Sonoma County and is expected to create strong rip currents at Southern California beaches.

Light rain also fell on the Grapevine, where a threat of snow could close down the road at any time. Heavy fog already blanketed the area, making for dangerous driving conditions. The California Highway Patrol is prepared to shut down the Grapevine if travel turns treacherous.

"Because of the incline and because of the of the types vehicles that are on it, the big rig trucks and cars, combined with the slippery road way, it's a definite safety hazard, and we don't take any chances," said CHP Sgt. Jeff Ferber.

Meanwhile, residents in the fire-ravaged foothills are prepared for possible mudslides, but they weren't too worried given of all the clearing that has been done in the catch basins since the debris flow in 2009.

"There were two days last February where we had eight or nine inches of rain in a day, and we saw nothing but clear water coming down. So they've improved the basin since then, I don't have any concerns," said La Canada Flintridge resident Colin Mahoney.

The effects of last year's wind storm also have Pasadena residents on alert. The Pasadena Fire Department had a stockpile of sandbags ready for residents on Friday to help them divert any potential debris flow.

"We lost a lot of ground cover in the form of trees and shrubbery as a result of the wind storms," said Lisa Derderian of Pasadena Fire. "A lot of that has not grown back or is permanently removed. So that serves as a breaking mechanism for the rain as it comes down slow."

There is a chance that the foothills could receive a dusting of snow as the snow level may drop to 2,500 feet.

Mountain residents are definitely expecting snow -- up to 2 feet to be exact, bringing a change in road conditions for Highway 18. While the road saw smooth sailing Friday afternoon, Caltrans employees readied snow plows and inspected equipment.

Extra staff will be brought in at Snow Valley to remove snow and shovel walkways, ensuring skiers and boarders will have access to operating ski lifts.

"We also prepare to open up more terrain, so we have a lot of staffing changes that need to occur as well as get equipment ready for the storm coming in," said Snow Valley's Kevin Somes.


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