U.S. Weather

Evacuations Ordered in L.A. Area Ahead of Storm

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. -- While residents of the mud-covered neighborhoods north of Los Angeles scramble to clean out their homes and yards, another storm bore down on Southern California, prompting authorities to issue evacuation warnings.

Weather forecasters predicted thunderstorms, snow in mountain passes and about an inch and a half of rain Tuesday for the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, where debris basins overflowed and damaged 43 homes over the weekend.

Officials issued evacuation orders for 541 homes on the hillsides of La Canada Flintridge and La Cresenta, telling residents to be out of their homes by 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Sheriff's deputies also asked residents to move their vehicles and trash cans away from the streets, where water and rocks roared through, smashing cars and concrete barriers together on Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Tuesday afternoon through late Tuesday night for the neighborhoods below the steep slopes that were scorched by a massive wildfire last summer.

A fleet of dump trucks cleared piles of sandy mud from the streets around Ocean View Drive, which turned into a river of mud and small boulders during the last storm.

"It takes weeks to clean the debris basins out entirely. We've been working around the clock since Saturday, load after load after load," said Department of Public Works spokesman Bob Spencer. "Hopefully this storm will be kinder to us."

The showers could put more pressure on the debris basins designed to keep mud and boulders away from homes near the burn areas. A basin just up the hill from homes became clogged and overflowed on Saturday.

Engineers have prioritized six of the 28 basins in the burn area, based on their size, current capacity and proximity to at-risk neighborhoods, Spencer said.

About 300 trucks are being used to clear the debris channels.