By Mary O’KEEFE
The mud did not flow and the debris basins remained fairly clear after about a half inch to three-quarters of an inch of rain fell on local foothills on Monday. That storm was part of three predicted for the week, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
The rain is supposed to start today with the heaviest downpour in the late evening. This, the second in the series of three, is expected to be a mild storm with about a half an inch of rain predicted. Saturday’s storm is larger with an expectation of a half an inch to two-and-a-half inches dropping onto the Foothills.
“This storm will start late Friday, early Saturday and then continue all day,” said Stuart Seto, weather specialist at the National Weather Service.
The heaviest rain is predicted between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday. Seto said he wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t some mud flow if the area does receive an inch of rain within six hours.
Los Angeles County and Glendale Public Works, Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, L.A. County Fire, Glendale fire and police are all out patrolling the foothill neighborhoods keeping a close eye on the mountain. “As soon as the Station Fire cleared Glendale we were getting prepared [for the flood and mud flow],” said Steve Zurn, director of Glendale Public Works.
Monday’s rain left debris basins in Glendale and the unincorporated area of Los Angeles fairly clear. “We had nothing. The basins took virtually no water,” Zurn said.
“There was very little [debris],” agreed Bob Spencer, chief of public affairs, L.A. County Public Works.
Glendale workers had installed four cameras within Deukmejian Wilderness Park to monitor mud flow. “The cameras are on and a good tool for those at the city’s Emergency Operation Center to view but I have talked with L.A. County [workers] and they agree that its more about boots on the ground,” Zurn said.
He added that through outreach meetings and driving the local streets he has a better understanding of the area. “We know the area and what needs to be done.”
During last Monday’s rain nine homes in Big Tujunga area were under evacuation orders. No mandatory evacuations were ordered in Glendale, La Crescenta or La Cañada however a unified command center was established.
Sheriffs, fire and public works were included in the command. “We were all in the same room with multiple phones to [monitor the situation],” said Capt. Dave Silversparre, CV Sheriff’s Station.
Silversparre said his deputies as well as local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) would be vigilant and patrol the area. “We had a staff meeting yesterday and discussed [how we would conduct] notification [of evacuations and information] with the safety of the community and our staff as a high priority,” he said.
Roger Young, founder of the Crescenta Valley Fire Safe Council, is also out on the streets monitoring the situation and talking to local residents. “On Monday the only mud that made it onto the streets was about one to two inches in Upper Canyonside Road,” Young said.
Although the storm did not produce the predicted mud flow it did not mean that nerves were any more calm. Young said he received a call from a resident who was in a state of panic because she heard the mud coming down the hill.
“It may have been a minor mud flow but when your emotions are going through the [threat of a flood or mud flow] no one can tell you that it isn’t [frightening],” he said.
The Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest highways are open. The forest highway had been closed due to the rain. “There is debris on the road everyday and up until now it has been very minor. We have [snow plows] clearing the roads every day. We have no plans to close them,” Spencer said.
That may change if the rains create too much debris along the highway. The
county public works controls the forest highway and Caltrans covers the ’Crest.
Caltrans also has plow trucks out clearing the road and monitoring the highway
The National Weather Service continues to update its website as the storm
“It is still a forecast. The storm may come through faster. Things happen fast
– we are going to be monitoring it,” Seto said.
Important information sources: The National Weather Service website:
www.wrh.noaa.gov/lox/ City of Glendale website: www.ci.glendale.ca.us. To contact the Glendale Community Hotline call (818) 548-6464. For L.A. County Public Works (800) 214-4020. Glendale city government access Channels: Charter Cable, Channel 6. AT&T U-Verse, Channel 99.