LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Southland is preparing for the first of two winter storms that began rolling through the area Wednesday night.
“These two storms will bring significant rainfall, high-elevation snow and gusty winds,” according to a National Weather Service advisory.
The first storm was expected to drop up to 3 inches of moisture across south-facing slopes as it swept over San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties before moving south into Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Friday’s storm is anticipated to dump up to six inches of rain in the foothills, triggering mudslide and flash flooding concerns for the Glendora and Azusa areas recently affected by the Colby Fire.
Voluntary evacuations were in place for some Glendora residents after the city raised the flooding alert level for the Colby Fire Impact Area from yellow to orange Wednesday due to the forecast and the field conditions in the foothills, according to police.
The orange level emergency protocol includes:
*Residents directed to remove vehicles, trash bins, other obstructions from streets and/or travel lanes prior to evacuating as they will be subject to tow or removal by authorities
*Residents will be directed to an Evacuation Center at the Crowther Teen & Family Center, 241 W. Dawson Ave. (just west of Glendora Ave. south of the 210 Freeway)
*Residents electing not to evacuate will be asked to sign a Refusal to Evacuate Form acknowledging their awareness of the hazards/risk and assuming all liability for the decision to remain and shelter in place
*Residents who do cooperate with the evacuation order will be afforded the opportunity to regain entry to their residential area at the discretion of the Police Department upon the showing of proof of residency and signing a waiver form acknowledging their decision to re-enter and/or remain
Police in neighboring Azusa were also urging residents of Ridge View Drive on Wednesday to evacuate as soon as possible. The voluntary evacuations in Azusa are expected to become mandatory by noon on Thursday.
KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz spoke to some residents Wednesday night who were not happy about the evacuations, including those resistant to leave.
“They didn’t think we were gonna get it [rain] until 2 o’clock this morning but it started to come now. We’ll get the women and children out of here, but I’m staying,” Lorenzo Tatone said.
According to police, most deaths occur during the nighttime while people are sleeping during landslides. They encourage residents in the area to abide by the evacuation notices.
An evacuation center has been established at the Crowther Center, located at 241 W. Dawson Avenue in Glendora.
Lancaster and Palmdale sheriff’s stations are also on a heightened state of alert in preparation for potential mudslides in the Green Valley and Elizabath Lake areas due to recent wildfires.
Showers are expected to last through Saturday night, the NWS said.
The Los Angeles Board of Public Works urged residents to prepare for the storms by taking these measures:
– Sweep driveways
– Remove debris to prevent it from entering storm drains
– Report downed trees or limbs
– Avoid watering outdoor plants
– Clean up after pets
To report storm-related emergencies, Los Angeles residents should call (800) 996-2489 or 311.
KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez reported from Newbury Park Wednesday night and spoke to residents concerned about possible mudslides.
A major fire there last summer has the residents worried that a lack of vegetation makes them vulnerable to slide activity.
Ventura County Fire officials told Fernandez that they were as prepared as they could be. They went door-t0-door making sure residents cleared out their storm drains and gutters.
“At first you’re a little leery hearing we are going to get that much rain,” says Captain Rick Bell of the Ventura County Fire Department, “but I think they’re right. We are getting a lot of rain right now. We talked to neighbors. People seemed ready.”
Residents of burn areas in Orange County were also nervous and it wasn’t even raining there.
Stacey Butler, reporting for KCAL9, spoke to residents in San Clemente where several homes slid three years ago.
“There is always some concern,” said homeowner Sandy Shenkle, a resident of Bluebird Canyon. She remembered seeing neighbor’s homes slide literally next to her. “Everything but my house and the house next door, gone.”
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