Keep Your Umbrellas Handy

Posted by on Feb 17th, 2011 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Photo by Mary O’KEEFE Run off from a storm that passed through Tuesday and Wednesday did no damage to the area, but weather specialists advise residents to brace for a heavier dousing this weekend.

It looks like another rainy few days for the Crescenta Valley. This last bit of rain brought a little over an inch of rain but the big down pour is still to come.

By Mary O’KEEFE

Crescenta Valley residents woke to a damp Wednesday morning and were warned to keep their umbrellas nearby.

“We will have another good chance on Wednesday [of more rain] with snow levels dropping down to 3,000 feet,” said Stuart Seto, weather specialist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Oxnard. “Thursday there is still a chance of rain but less then one-tenth of an inch is expected.”

But heavy rain is expected to arrive late Friday into Saturday. Coasts and valleys are predicted to get one to three inches of rain with the mountains looking to get anywhere from three to six inches.

“There is a slight chance of thunderstorms Friday into Saturday,” Seto added.

It has only been a year since a rainstorm brought mud sliding down from the local fire-scarred mountainsides onto the streets, and in some cases into homes, of La Crescenta and La Cañada residents.

It was February 2010 that a boulder the size of a small car blocked the Mullally Debris Basin causing mud and debris to back up and flow into the streets, yards and homes.

“There is a real human dynamic [concerning the rains] for those that live in the area,” said Kerjon Lee, spokesman for the Los Angeles County of Public Works.

Public Works employees clean the debris basins between the rainstorms. At present they are 5% full, which is the norm for debris basins, Lee said.

“We are very confident of [our] system,” he said adding that the large boulder that was lodged in Mullally was not due to any structural damage.

Public Works employees are on constant patrol during the rains, like the storm that just passed and the wet weather expected this weekend.

“But we also rely on the residents of the area. They are our eyes and ears,” Lee said.

Anyone who sees or hears anything that looks out of the ordinary is asked to contact Public Works at (800) 675-4357 or at http://dpw.lacounty.gov/Contact/#emergencyinfo.

Lee reminds residents to heed the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s warning to evacuate if and when they are ordered.

“It was a real challenge with the first storm of the season in October when we asked residents to evacuate,” Lee said. Many residents did not evacuate and although that scenario played out for the best – the rain came and left without flooding or mudslides – the concern remains.

Public Works has its own internal meteorologist and other [specialists] that look at each storm and the possible dangers, Lee added.

Weather is always difficult to predict in an exact area at an exact time, but Lee said officials make decisions based on the best scientific information available and with the residents’ safety as a priority. They have a system of checks and balances in place.

“It is also important to remember that the city streets are part of that system and that the K-rails are not [just to protect] homes but are there to channel water into the streets,” Lee said.

Many streets have rain restrictive parking. Lee reminds residents to take heed to those restrictions as well as any orders for evacuations.

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