Rain evacuations lifted, roads still closed

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. Portions of Angeles Crest Highway remain shut down. The 12-mile stretch from mile marker 27 to 39 was closed Saturday after three separate mudslides.

Caltrans and CHP have not yet determined when they'll reopen those roads. As for the Monday morning commute, drivers will have to make alternate plans and find different routes.

Highway 2 is still caked with mud in many places from the debris that flowed onto the road during Saturday's rain. The mud is very thick and deep, ranging from just a few inches to several feet. Caltrans plows were on the roads Sunday working hard to clean up the mess.

The area was stripped of vegetation by the Station Fire earlier this year, leaving nothing to hold the hillsides in place.

They gave way Saturday afternoon trapping more than 100 vehicles. Some of the motorists got out on foot. Others had to wait until Caltrans could come out and clear the debris.

Officials said they were able to escort every car down from the mountain and no one was hurt.

Nearby, Big Tujunga Canyon and Upper Big Tujunga Canyon roads are also closed. Only emergency vehicles and public works crews have access right now.

While the roads may be a muddy mess, the homes near the burn areas remained almost unscathed by dirt and debris when residents returned home from being evacuated Saturday.

The mandatory evacuation orders were lifted for 44 homes early Sunday morning.

County officials said while residents left their houses, no homes suffered damage from mudslides or falling debris.

"It was encouraging last night to see when we got back this morning that things were okay," said La Canada-Flintridge resident Gary Stibal.

The storm was a little lighter than expected, according to projections by the National Weather Service. A flash flood warning for central Los Angeles County was canceled by the NWS at about 4:40 a.m. Sunday.

Los Angeles police went door-to-door in the Tujunga area Saturday night to put about 90 households on alert for slides.

An evacuation center was set up by the American Red Cross at La Canada High School at 4463 Oak Grove Drive for any residents needing shelter.

Officials are warning residents that although the rain has stopped, the danger of mudslides still remains.

"As the sun comes out and dries out those hillsides, the possibility of a mudslide increases as those fissures start to take on a drying effect on the burn out areas in the city," said Assist. Chief Craig Fry of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

"We're all relieved and the ones I've talked to are just like, 'Well, we dodged this bullet, so we'll see what's next.' You know, that's all we can do," said Debbie Mahoney, a La Canada-Flintridge resident.

"We didn't have anything come down here, just that little bit on Ocean View, but it's really okay, and if we just get rains like this for the rest of the season, it'll be fine, but it's just that we never know," added Mahoney.

City and county officials said that they will continue to make routine patrols through the burn areas to make sure there is no residual mud and debris flows and to make sure that the waterlogged hillsides are holding steady.

In the Hollywood Hills, one home sitting on an unstable hillside remains threatened.

Firefighters yellow-tagged the house on the 6900 block of La Presa Drive Saturday. They say the house is in danger of being damaged by mud and falling debris.

The residents have voluntarily evacuated the home. Officials said the house will be re-evaluated Monday, and no other homes in the area have been evacuated.

In Sylmar, runoff built up in a lot next to a construction site in the 13000 block of Cranston Avenue about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, and firefighters used a sledgehammer to knock holes in the bottom of a cinder-block wall to drain the pool.

The storm also knocked out power to thousands of Southland residents.

As of Sunday morning, about 19,000 Southern California Edison customers are without service. Most of the customers are in South L.A. County with isolated outages in Orange County.

About 100 DWP customers are also without power as of Sunday afternoon. These customers are scattered in pockets throughout Los Angeles.

No word on when all service will be restored.

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