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Rainstorm heads out of the SCV

0.84 inches dumped locally; sunny but chilly rest of week

Posted: December 13, 2009 10:11 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2009 11:19 p.m.

Heavy rain tapered off, skies cleared sporadically and residents took stock of damage Sunday as a winter storm headed out of Southern California, allowing evacuated homeowners back to their houses.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, the storm dumped 0.84 inches of rain as of 5 p.m. Sunday, bringing the season total to 2.19, according to Weather Central Inc.

Rainfall totals vary widely in the SCV depending upon the elevation at which they are measured.

Leaves, rocks and tree branches marked the high-water line in many streets following Saturday's downpour. However, little damage was reported.

Officials with regional public works and fire departments were most concerned about the San Gabriel Valley foothill communities, where last summer's Station Fire denuded hillsides of erosion-controlling vegetation.

Residents of 44 homes in La Crescenta, La Cañada-Flintridge and Big Tujunga Canyon were evacuated but by Sunday were allowed to return home, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Lillian Peck.

Fifteen patrol vehicles continued to make rounds in burn areas Sunday, scanning the hillsides for potential mudslides, said the Los Angeles Fire Department's Brian Humphrey.

"We've been planning for these winter storms since summer, since before the wildfires, coordinating with other agencies," said Humphrey. "We're confident that our preparedness really paid off."

Foothill areas below the burned sections of the Angeles National Forest had been barricaded with sandbags and concrete barriers.

Ground in recently burned areas has little ability to absorb rain, and the instant runoff during heavy rains can carry with it ash, mud, boulders and vegetation.

Mudslides and debris closed parts of a 12-mile stretch of the Angeles Crest Highway just north of Los Angeles, leaving 90 vehicles stranded for a time. No injuries were reported. The road remained closed Sunday.

Several small slides were reported on the highway between La Canada Flintridge and Mount Wilson.

The Santa Clarita Valley forecast called for partly cloudy skies today with sunny days through the rest of the week. Temperatures would remain low, however, with highs in the high 50s to low 60s and lows in the 40s.


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