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CA homes safe after mudslide threat

Predicted rain prompted evacuations, but L.A. hills held against storm

BY KATE SAAVEDRA | LOS ANGELES | February 10, 2010

Residents returned home Wednesday morning after the mandatory evacuation order was lifted for 541 homes in Los Angeles County.

Authorities issued the order Tuesday as rain in the forecast heightened the threat of mudslides in La Canada Flintridge, La Cresenta and Acton. Tuesday’s order came three days after rain caused a mudslide in La Canada Flintridge that damaged 43 homes.

No mudslides occurred as feared on Tuesday, but rain brought on flooding and debris flows, which will make cleanup difficult for residents, said Nicole Nishida, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department warns residents in areas that were evacuated to “remain on high alert, watching for any unusual movement of the hillsides as the ground is saturated.”

Last weekend’s mudslides were brought on by heavy rain that soaked hilly areas. Los Angeles County has gotten 3.29 inches of precipitation this month well above the February norm of 1.17 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Tuesday’s rain only neared their prediction, which was one-half to three-quarters and inch of rain.

“This was a light storm,” said Bill Hoffer, of NWS Los Angeles. Downtown Los Angeles got 0.44 inches of rain and Acton got 0.52, with other mudslide-threatened areas getting similar totals.

Mudslide threats prompting evacuation could happen again in the near future, as areas of Los Angeles County remain barren due to recent wildfires and, explained Hoffer, storm season in Southern California will continue through April.

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