Storm brings flood fears to S. Cal­i­for­nia burn ar­eas

The Oklahoman - - NATION - BY CHRISTO­PHER WE­BER

LOS AN­GE­LES — Au­thor­i­ties kept a wor­ried eye Fri­day on fire-scarred South­ern Cal­i­for­nia hill­sides af­ter a storm brought flood­ing fears and prompted evac­u­a­tion or­ders for hun­dreds of homes.

The sec­ond storm in a week dropped record-break­ing rains on down­town Los An­ge­les, jammed ma­jor roads and sent an air­liner skid­ding off a run­way, but no ma­jor in­juries were re­ported.

Manda­tory evac­u­a­tions were or­dered for ar­eas of Orange and River­side coun­ties rav­aged by a sum­mer wild­fire. Black, surg­ing tor­rents choked with downed trees and mud swept down chan­nels near homes and in one case swept across a bridge and took out a guardrail.

Other ar­eas saw foot-deep mud or wa­ter.

No homes were se­ri­ously dam­aged but even though the storm eased by night­fall, evac­u­a­tion or­ders for hun­dreds of homes in Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Moun­tains south of Los An­ge­les and for a few neigh­bor­hoods in the Lake Elsi­nore area east of Los An­ge­les re­mained in place overnight.

Other Lake Elsi­nore ar­eas had their manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­ders down­graded to vol­un­tary evac­u­a­tion warn­ings late Thurs­day night, al­though fire of­fi­cials said there was still a po­ten­tial for dan­ger­ous con­di­tions and urged res­i­dents to re­main vig­i­lant.

Also in Lake Elsi­nore, fire­fight­ers worked into the night lin­ing a street with sand­bags to pro­tect homes.

“We just don’t know the sta­bil­ity of our hills any­more,” Lake Elsi­nore Mayor Natasha John­son told KABC-TV ear­lier. “The fire did its dev­as­ta­tion ... the hills be­hind us that are not a con­cern could be­come a con­cern very quickly.”

A mud­slide shut down Pa­cific Coast High­way and sur­round­ing roads in and around Mal­ibu neigh­bor­hoods charred by an­other fire last month last month that de­stroyed hun­dreds of homes.

Kirby Kotler and his neigh­bors spent days be­fore the storm stack­ing 18,000 sand­bags be­hind their homes along the high­way. But when heavy rains ar­rived, mud, wa­ter and rocks blasted through the bags and across their prop­er­ties.

Kotler, who wielded wa­ter hoses to beat back the flames in Novem­ber, used a trac­tor to keep the de­bris from en­ter­ing his home.

“Sav­ing my house once again,” said Kotler, 57, a life­long Mal­ibu res­i­dent. “I’m more than a lit­tle con­cerned. If we get an­other blast of heavy rain there’ll be no stop­ping the hill from com­ing down.”

At Hol­ly­wood Bur­bank Air­port, about 15 miles north of down­town Los An­ge­les, no­body was hurt when a South­west Air­lines plane from Oak­land skid­ded off a wet run­way as it landed. The plane came to a stop in a graded area de­signed to slow air­craft that over­shoot the run­way, the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

“As we landed, you could feel the brakes,” pas­sen­ger Grant Palmer told KABC-TV. “Then I started notic­ing the plane go­ing side­ways.”

Palmer said he was pre­pared to tuck into an emer­gency pos­ture while his un­flap­pable co-worker con­tin­ued writ­ing emails dur­ing the rough land­ing.

In Na­tional City in San Diego County, fire­fight­ers res­cued peo­ple at a home­less en­camp­ment known as “The Jun­gle.” Some of the home­less had climbed trees, in one case along with three dogs, to es­cape rag­ing wa­ters as deep as 12 feet, KUSI-TV re­ported .

[JAMES QUIGG/THE DAILY PRESS VIA AP]

A pedes­trian leaps across a flooded por­tion of the La Paz and Sev­enth Street in­ter­sec­tion as a win­ter storm ar­rived Thurs­day in Vic­torville, Calif.

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