Rain's reign isn't over

GLENDALE — Another powerful rainstorm is expected to drench the foothills today after public works crews spent this past weekend clearing catch basins that had filled up last week.

Today’s storm could bring up to an inch of moderate to heavy rain this evening, according to the National Weather Service. Some cities could see up to 2 inches of rain.

Rainfall rates of one-third to two-thirds of an inch could be hazardous for recent burn areas, according to the weather agency.

Los Angeles County Public Works crews worked around the clock during the weekend and Monday to clean debris basins in La Crescenta and La Cañada, said Bob Spencer, a spokesman for the agency.

“We are working in 12-hour shifts,” he said. “It’s literally nonstop.”

Some smaller debris basins in La Crescenta and La Cañada reached full capacity during last week’s storms, Spencer said.

“They did exactly what they were designed to do, and they filled up,” he said.

Last week’s four storms dumped 6 to 10 inches of rain in the foothills, far less than the anticipated total of 20 inches.

Fearing that the series of storms could produce massive debris flows and flooding in the recent burn areas, more than 1,000 north Glendale, La Crescenta and La Cañada residents were evacuated from their homes Wednesday. They were allowed to return home Friday.

Two La Cañada homes were struck by minor mudflows, but no injuries were reported.

Crews will continue to clear the 28 foothill-area county debris basins into next week, and possibly more, Spencer said.

Completely clearing out the basins before today’s storm was impossible because the process has required significant work and resources, he said.

“We are getting them cleaned out as quickly as we can,” Spencer said.

Last week’s storm took up only 30% capacity of Glendale’s debris basins, Public Works Director Steve Zurn said.

“The basins all performed well,” he said.

Since the city’s basins weren’t filled to the brim with debris, Zurn said crews didn’t have to do much cleanup.

County officials said they weren’t too concerned about the latest storm, but cleanup operations could be halted if the rain is heavy and prolonged.

“We won’t put any personnel in harm’s way,” he said.

The storm is expected to taper off by Wednesday morning.

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