With second storm coming, clean up efforts at full throttle

GLENDALE — Public works crews and residents are working feverishly today to clean up ahead of another rain storm that is expected to hit the mud ravaged foothill areas Tuesday afternoon.

Los Angeles County Public Works crews have been working around the clock to cleanup tons of mud that severely damaged 43 homes in La Cañada and La Crescenta this past weekend. Nine homes in the Paradise Valley community were tagged as uninhabitable and several dozen parked vehicles were sustained major damage after being tossed around by the force of the debris flows that clogged catch basins Saturday night.

Despite the intense clean up effort, county Public Works spokesman Bob Spencer said it would take weeks to clear out debris catch basins that were filled with tons of mud and rocks after the weekend downpour.

“We are concentrating on the smaller ones right now and doing whatever is humanly possible for us to do to prepare for what will be coming our way tomorrow,” he said.

After a series of storms last month that forced the evacuations of hundreds of residents, crews hauled out more than a half-million cubic yards of debris from foothill basins, Spencer said.

“And there’s probably that amount already captured in the debris basins again,” he said. “It shows you the system is doing its job and it’s standing up to it. If the system was not in place, that would have been a half-a-million cubic yards of debris that would have been in neighborhoods.”

A fleet of 300 trucks are moving throughout the foothills to haul material from 28 basins, Spencer said.

Since Saturday, crews have been focused on cleaning up the Mullally, Big Briar and Starfall debris basins, he said.

Intense rain on Saturday overran the Mullally basin, propelling mud, rocks and tree branches into La Canada’s Paradise Valley community.

“It’s impossible for us to turn it around in 48 hours,” Spencer said of the basin.

Tuesday’s storm is expected to bring up to an inch and a half of rain in the foothills, said meteorologist Jamie Meier of the National Weather Service.

The storm wasn’t expected to be as powerful as the weekend storm, she said.

“The one caveat is that we are expecting some thunderstorm activity associated with this storm, and if any thunderstorm were to form over any one particular area and just plant there for a period of time, we could see some locally higher amounts,” Meier said.

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