Updates on the winter storms in Southern California

Mandatory Evacuations Remain for San Gabriel Valley Foothill Communities

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As a strong system struck down in Southern California Friday, mandatory evacuations remained in Glendora and Azusa. Officials were concerned that possible mudslides and debris flow could damage the nearly 1,000 homes in the evacuation zone. Toni Guinyard reports live for Today in LA on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (Published Friday, Feb 28, 2014)

    Mandatory evacuations are still in effect for the San Gabriel Valley foothill communities of Glendora and Azusa as a strong storm system pounds parts of Southern California.

    Despite sunny blue skies behind the first storm, mandatory evacuation orders were issued Thursday for about 1,000 homes in two of Los Angeles' eastern foothill suburbs beneath nearly 2,000 acres of steep mountain slopes left bare by a January fire.

    Despite Evacuations, Family Determined to Ride Out Storm

    [LA] Despite Evacuations, Family Determined to Ride Out Storm
    Some 1,000 foothill homes were evacuated ahead of a strong winter storm expected to wallop Southern California with flooding, mud- and rockslides. But despite being urged to leave, some residents say they'll take their chances. Gadi Schwartz reports from Glendora for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Feb. 27, 2014. (Published Friday, Feb 28, 2014)

    Flash flood warnings were in effect Friday as weather officials braced for periods of heavy rains and possible thunderstorms through Saturday night.

    Residents Consider Fleeing Amid Mudslide Danger

    [LA] Residents Weigh Evacuation Order Amid Mudslide Danger
    An evacuation order is in effect in parts of Azusa and Glendora amid worries about possible mudslides in burn areas from January's Colby Fire. Residents say their main concern is protecting their homes. Patrick Healy reports from Azusa for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (Published Thursday, Feb 27, 2014)

    The neighborhood was burned in January’s Colby fire, forcing residents to stack sandbags around their properties for protection from possible mudslides and debris flows as the rain moistens the hillsides.

    Azusa police made the decision for evacuations after speaking with National Weather Service representatives and city officials. Hard street closures were placed in effect  and city officials urged residents to leave early on Thursday.

    Mandatory Evacuations in Glendora, Azusa

    [LA] Mandatory Evacuations in Glendora, Azusa
    Evacuations were ordered for areas that were damaged in the Colby Fire. Glendora and Azusa put the mandatory evacuations in place around noon on Thursday ahead of a strong storm system Thursday night. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (Published Thursday, Feb 27, 2014)

    "Make final preparations to secure their homes, get their personal items in order and leave as quickly as possible," Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers said.

    Some residents, however, have decided to stay put, despite the evacuation orders.

    Ventura County Firefighters Prepare for Rain

    [LA] Ventura County Firefighters Prepare for Rain
    Areas affected by last year's Spring fire had fire officials on alert amid concerns of mudslides and flooding. Officials said areas near Camarillo Springs, Newbury Park and Cal State Channel Islands faced the biggest threat of damage. Gordon Tokumatsu reports live for the NBC4 News at Noon on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (Published Thursday, Feb 27, 2014)

    “I think (the city has) done a great job preparing,” Glendora resident Dale Ellsworth said.

    Ellsworth's grandmother was living in Glendora during a 1969 stom in which lives were lost and 30 homes were destroyed.

    "Those were longer floods, longer rains and heavier rains. We didn't have sandbags, there was nothing we just played it by ear. Helped each other,” Doreen Ellsworth said of the 1969 mud flows.

    As of Thursday night, the city of Glendora was out of sandbags but more are expected to arrive Friday morning. The city also has engineered drainage ponds and emergency k rails in place.

    Evacuations Expected in Azusa Community

    [LA] Evacuations Expected in Azusa Community
    A storm system moving into Southern California Thursday had officials calling for mandatory evacuations in Azusa. The area was burned during the Colby fire, and authorities were concerned about the possibility of mudslides in the area. Toni Guinyard reports live for Today in LA on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (Published Thursday, Feb 27, 2014)

    "The city learned a tremendous lesson, they really did," Doreen Ellsworth said.

    An evacuation center was set up at the Crowther Teen & Family Center located at 241 W. Dawson Ave.

    Extra officers were going to be patrolling the affected neighborhood to prevent criminal activity while residents were away from their home.

    In Ventura County, the threat of a strong weather system was placing firefighters on high alert in areas affected by last year's Spring fire, which burned 24,000 acres of land near Camarillo Springs, Newbury Park and Cal State Channel Islands. 

    Mike Lindbery, spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department, warned that the burned areas could be susceptible to mudslides and flooding.

    "If you start getting water flowing into your structure, don’t hesitate. Call 911," Lindbery said.

    While concern was highest in the Glendora-Azusa area, meteorologists also posted flood watches for many other areas denuded by fires over the past two years. The National Weather Service warned of possible rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches an hour as well as waterspouts offshore and small tornados when the next storm moves through the state Friday.

    California's precipitation totals are far below normal and it will take a series of drenching storms to make a dent in a statewide drought that is among the worst in recent history.

    The state Department of Water Resources took a new survey of the Sierra Nevada snowpack and found the water content at only 24 percent of average for the date. The northern and central Sierra snowpack normally provides about a third of the water used by California's cities and farms.

    The Associated Press and NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed with this report.

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