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N CA prepares for floods, slides

Heavy and persistent rains in northern California raises threat of flooding and mudslides.

BY STEPHANIE BACKUS | QUINCY, CA | March 3, 2009

Heavy rain is expected to continue falling on Tuesday in northern California, raising the threat of flooding and debris slides. Officials said wildfires in northern California has made the ground ripe for debris slides in heavy rain.

Debris slides and flooding are not new to residents of Quincy, CA. Quincy lies in the middle of mountains. Slides and flooding are something town residents have come to expect.

"It depends on the amount of rainfall and amount of snow that fell that will be melting in the spring," said The Rev. Susan Anderson, pastor of Our Savior Luthern Church (ELCA). "When it falls in the mountain, it has to come down."

Anderson is new to the area, so this is her first year experiencing the threat of mudslides.

"I'm just learning about how people do respond during fearful times because there's flash flood warnings and mud slides," she said. "People are very cautious about making plans to go up the mountain or down the canyon which are the only two options of getting in and out of town."

Anderson said it has been raining for days in northern California, but that hasn't stopped the congregation from coming to church.

"I was very surprised (last) Sunday. It's been raining for about a week and the creeks and rivers are swollen, but attendence was up Sunday. I don't know if that's a reflection of the character of the congregation, or their need to be together in a stressful time. I just don't know," she said.

Getting access to the community can also be a concern.

"In my trips down the canyon -- it's a curvy road, but well traveled -- it's the only way to get from Sacramento to the town," Anderson said. "There's a marker from four years ago where the water level went 8 feet over where the road is. We constantly have to be alert to weather reports and which highway is closed and why.

"The only other way out of town is up into the mountains, then you end up in the snow. People have the mentality that when the weather gets bad, you hunker down. We're well supplied with grocery stores and a medical facility."

The Sierra Nevada Mountains could see as much as 30 inches of snow fall through Wednesday. Anyone who plans to travel during the winter storm should take chains, water, flashlights and other emergency equipment with them, according to officials. They expected conditions to deteriorate quickly in the storm.

Meanwhile, several states are under fire alerts on Tuesday. Low humidity levels and cold temperatures are fueling the red flag warnings.

Parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Georgia, all of Alabama and most of Florida are included in the red flag warnings. Red flag warnings are issued if good fire conditions exist. Officials are warning residents to keep any flammable substances under control during the time of high fire risk.

Flooding from heavy rains over the weekend and a rare snow storm is battling parts of the south. The National Weather Service classifies the flooding as minor, but said cabins and trailers along the river banks may be impacted by the water.


Related Topics:

Residents rescued from CA mudslides

Heavy rain brings mudslides to Wash. state

Cleanup begins after Calif. mudslides


More links on Mudslides

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