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Surprise Shower Causes No Problems in Slide Areas

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sunday’s surprising rain shower--the first in more than three months--may have roused some Orange County residents from their sleep, but it caused no problems in San Clemente or Anaheim, which were plagued with rain-related landslides in the past year.

And while officials in both cities are hoping the sprinkles are not the harbinger of an early rainy season, they may be disappointed.

The 30-day forecast predicts California will experience above-normal precipitation and cooler temperatures, according to meteorologist Dean Jones of WeatherData, which provides forecasts for The Times.

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A second storm system may cause showers Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night, he said.

Although it was the first storm of the rainy season, Sunday’s shower was not unusual. There normally are one or two showers in October, providing about a quarter of an inch of precipitation in the L.A. area, Jones said.

Despite the rain, Orange County highways had the usual number of traffic accidents Sunday night, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

In San Clemente, officials said the city is rushing to finish storm-related repairs to drains and hillsides before the start of this year’s rainy season, a city engineer said.

In Anaheim, officials said they will continue to operate 120 pumps to remove ground water from the Santiago landslide area throughout the coming rainy season.

Three Anaheim homes were severely damaged in January’s landslide and about 45 homes had to be evacuated, said Natalie Lockman, an Anaheim city engineer.

Officials in both cities agreed that Sunday’s .05 inches of rain was not enough to worry about.

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“It’s when the soil starts getting saturated and we have continuous rains that the level of concern goes up,” said San Clemente City Engineer William Cameron.

The largest storm-related project in San Clemente is the repair of a storm drain channel at El Camino Real and Avenida Pico. The storm drain overflowed during the heavy January rains, causing a flash flood that destroyed an Italian restaurant and a motel.

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