Mudflows Hit La Canada Flintridge Neighborhood

Rain storms formed so quickly that forecasters in Oxnard couldn't see them initially

By Scott Weber
|  Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 2:54 PM PDT
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Intense rainfall triggered surprise mudslides on mountain slopes laid bare by the Station Fire

Intense rainfall triggered surprise mudslides on mountain slopes laid bare by the Station Fire

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Intense rainfall fell on mountain slopes laid bare by the Station Fire triggering debris flows early Friday into a hillside neighborhood in La Canada Flintridge. The mud, rocks and boulders left six homes with "minor to moderate" damage, authorities said.

Residents of at least six homes self- evacuated at the height of the flows, which occurred near the top of Ocean View Boulevard, said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Frederic Stowers.

Storm cells formed so quickly that forecasters in Oxnard couldn't see them initially. Residents near the top of Ocean View Boulevard in La Canada Flintridge learned of the flows when they heard the mud and rocks moving, according to Stowers.

"It was uncharted, it developed quick and we couldn't see it," said NWS Meteorologist Curt Kaplan, speaking this morning from Oxnard. "There was a convergence line where the cells pulled together. We got the advisory out, but you can't forecast it when it happens this fast."

Mud partially buried some vehicles, blocked driveways and garages. No injuries were reported.

Another slide was triggered on Angeles Crest Highway above La Canada Flintridge. A contractor at the scene said the slide covered the highway with mud and rocks to a depth of four feet.

By 2 a.m. the Los Angeles County emergency flood response included more than 75 firefighters and public works employees, Stowers said.

Rock Castle Drive was closed due to mud flows overtopping concrete barriers, and 12 to 24 inches of mud oozed into cul-de-sacs such as Earnslow Drive and Normanton Drive, On Scene reported.

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