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Storms shut portion of Gold Line, leave thousands without power [Updated]

January 22, 2010 |  8:17 am

Goldline

Rainstorms continued to cause problems across Southern California today, stopping commuter rail service in northeastern Los Angeles County, leaving thousands of residents without power and forcing hundreds from their homes because of mudslide fears.

About 4 a.m., a tree fell onto the overhead lines that power the trains at Arroyo Verde Road in South Pasadena, blocking the Gold Line tracks in both directions, said MTA spokesman Dave Sotero. There is no rail service between the Southwest Museum and Sierra Madre Villa stations, though there is bus service available. Workers hope to have the tracks clear in a couple of hours.

[Updated at 2:12 p.m.: The Gold Line reopened around 1 p.m., but trains are running every 20 minutes, less frequently than normal. Full repairs are expected to be completed tomorrow.]

More than 1,000 people evacuated from L.A.'s foothill communities probably will have to stay away from their homes until Monday, as authorities nervously watch the hillsides denuded by last year’s Station Fire above La Cañada Flintridge, Acton, La Crescenta and Tujunga Canyon.

[Updated at 10:40 a.m.: City officials lifted the following evacuations in La Crescenta -- Brookhill Street, Cortolane Drive, Daver Avenue, Frances Avenue, Harmony Place, Henrietta Avenue, Orange Avenue, Parham Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Pineglen Road, Pinelawn Drive, Pineridge Drive, Ridgepine Drive, Rockdell Street, Rosemont Avenue, Seapine Lane, Starfall and Willowhaven Drive. Some evacuations in Acton and La Cañada Flintridge are expected to be lifted shortly.]

[Updated at 11:10 a.m.: The Los Angeles Fire Department has lifted the evacuation order in Sunland-Tujunga.]

No major mudslides have been reported so far, but the hillsides are saturated.

"We can't keep running on luck forever," said Chief Neil Tyler of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in a Thursday news conference.

More than 10,000 people across Southern California were without power today, including 1,300 in the city of Los Angeles and 9,500 in communities such as Blythe, Hemet and Wildomar, according to officials with the city’s Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison. Crews for the utilities restored power to nearly 27,000 customers overnight.

Edison spokeswoman Lauren Bartlett urged people to avoid downed power lines and to use flashlights rather than candles to avoid setting fires.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue throughout the day, with gusty winds possible in mountain communities and snow levels falling to 2,500 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Coastal flooding and high surf warnings remain in effect.

A break is expected this weekend, with forecasts calling for cloudy skies before another storm system moves in next week, possibly Monday.

-- Seema Mehta and Amina Khan

Photo: A northbound Gold Line train is blocked by a tree that fell on overhead lines at Arroyo Verde Road in South Pasadena. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

More storm photos > > > >

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