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Storm Hits Newhall Hardest in SCV

Fast-moving waters cut off portions of Meadview Avenue, isolating residents.

Posted: January 28, 2008 4:04 a.m.
Updated: March 30, 2008 2:02 a.m.

The concrete road over the wash of Placerita Creek in Meadview Avenue in Newhall is completely inundated by rushing waters. Residents on one side of the wash were unable to access any other roads due to the flooding of the wash.

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This weekend's torrential rainstorm that drenched the Santa Clarita Valley nearly washed out Newhall. Residents witnessed the wrath of Mother Nature firsthand as severe flooding that completely submerged an access road and potentially threatening utility services and emergency rescue attempts.

Fast-moving waters completely submerged Placerita Creek in Newhall, cutting off portions of Meadview Avenue and potentially stranding local residents.
"It's really, really crazy," said Roy Schultz, whose home abuts the wash. "There are times I can't get through there."
Schultz lives in one of the 20 homes on Meadview Avenue in Newhall. The concrete berm over Placerita Creek is an access road for Meadview residents, connecting them to Placeritos Boulevard and Placerita Canyon Road. The only other access for Meadview residents is Quigley Canyon Road, which is limited to sport utility vehicles and trucks.
"I've lived here for 35 years and have tried to get the city to do something about it, but it only gets worst," Schultz added.
The wash running alongside the Meadview Avenue neighborhood north of Placeritos Boulevard was completely submerged by nearly three feet of rushing waters, moving through Placerita Creek at approximately 30 to 40 miles per hour, according to eyewitness accounts.
The berm on Meadview Avenue is part of an asphalt approach to the sand crossing in the wash. Most of that asphalt has been damaged due to the rainstorm, increasing the odds that it will be completely destroyed and threatening resident access to services, according to Valerie Thomas, who lived on the rain-soaked dirt road for more than 30 years.
"This is real scary," Thomas said. "When the berm gives, so do our utilities. The concrete berm is completely undermined. We're going to be totally without utilities."
The berm not only provides vehicular access over the wash, but it also covers many underground utility lines. According to Thomas, should the berm give way, two events may occur that will severely cripple the neighborhood. Specifically, she said a telephone pole at the base of the wash that supports electricity and cable may collapse. Also, the concrete berm may damage gas and water lines underneath the creek.
"If either of those things happens, this neighborhood will be totally stranded," said Thomas. "Food is not a problem, but there are health and safety concerns."
The flooded wash, which has progressively worsened since the rainstorms drenched the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday, has been to focus of complaints to utility companies and city officials for years.
"The city has tried to help out, but they are worried about liability," added Thomas.
Still, residents are concerned that things will get worst before it gets better.
"This is the gnarliest it's ever been," said Shannon Hudson, whose home is located next to the submerged berm. "It's eroded at least two or three feet and is getting completely mangled."
Of great concern is that the city does not have an emergency plan, should the concrete berm give way.
"We are too heavily treed on this side of the wash to land a helicopter," Thomas added. "The city has no contingency plans for assisting us and neighborhoods like ours."


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