By Mary O’KEEFE
It has been a wild and wet week for Crescenta Valley residents. Whether above or below Foothill Boulevard the result is the same – we are wet.
The rain is expected to continue today, heavy at times. Mandatory evacuations are still in force in the areas affected by the Station Fire and classes have been cancelled today for schools above Foothill Boulevard. Those include Mountain Avenue, Monte Vista, Valley View and Dunsmore elementary schools, Rosemont Middle School and Clark Magnet High School.
“The schools are structurally safe. The reason we made the decision to close the schools is to reduce the amount of pedestrian and [auto] traffic in the area,” said Katherine Fundukian Thorossian, Glendale district assistant superintendent.
The other schools in the district will have a normal class schedule.
American Red Cross centers have been established at La Cañada High School, however not many had taken advantage of the facility as of Wednesday late afternoon.
Debbie Henderson, spokes person for the American Red Cross, said the high school could accommodate 50 people. She added that she did expect some La Crescenta as well as La Cañada residents.
In anticipation of more evacuations, the Red Cross has placed additional cots and supplies at the First Baptist Church of La Crescenta.
“They have [supplies] set there just in case they need the [facility],” said Bob Baumheckel, chairman of the board at the church.
The second half of the third storm is due to hit the area this morning. This storm is expected to be as strong as Wednesday’s although with less wind.
“It is possible this second half of the storm could bring in another two to four inches of rain,” said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service.
The rain is expected to be heavy at times and could last up to six hours. Winds are expected to be 25 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 55 mph through Thursday night.
“The main brunt of the third storm (had) gone through by early Wednesday,” Seto said.
The rain will continue on Friday but not as heavy with a predicted half inch of rain.
Saturday and Sunday is expected to have scattered showers but the area should begin to dry up until Monday when there is a 30% to 40% chance of rain.
As of Wednesday night, the storms had dumped 4.26 inches of rain in Crescenta Valley, Seto said.
Several hundred homes in La Crescenta, Glendale annex, Tujunga and La Cañada continue to be under mandatory evacuation that was ordered early Wednesday. Fire, sheriff and police continued to patrol the area, monitoring the hillsides and road conditions.
There was a break between the first and second waves of Wednesday’s storm but officials caution that the danger is not over and residents who have been evacuated need to abide by the mandatory orders.
“The [mandatory evacuation] will stay in place until we deem it is safe to go back,” said Capt. Sam Padilla of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
He added he would like to get people back into their homes as quickly as possible but places their safety over expedience.
“The conditions are still unsure and the weather to come is very dynamic. We are still going to see a lot of rain,” he said.
Even after the rain stops and the sun comes out the danger is still present.
“People [should] understand that days after the [rains] there could be massive ground flow,” Padilla said.
For the most part residents in La Crescenta and Glendale have complied with the evacuation orders.
“Obviously there are some people who want to stay in their homes but for the most part we have received good cooperation. Some that haven’t left are willing to leave but want to stay until the [last minute],” said Sgt. Tom Lorenz, Glendale Police Department.
Lorenz attributed the residence compliance with the amount of meetings that were conducted by the city of Glendale.
“We provided the community with a lot of information prior to the [rains],” he said.
The city and county have had several informational meetings for residents in the Station Fire burn area.
Still some people were determined to stay in their home. A La Crescenta woman was shopping at a local store buying supplies to ride out the storm.
“I don’t want to leave. I have too many animals. I have to stay here,” she said.
Crescenta Valley Sheriff Deputy Jorge Valdivia said animal safety should not stop people from complying with evacuation orders.
“There are shelters for resident’s animals. We can help them find shelter,” he said.
Padilla added he understood the frustration of some residents.
“But what kind of faith would [residents] have in us if we let them in too soon. I would rather have them complain and be safe.”
Brandon Hensley contributed to this story