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Emergency preparations announced in L.A. and Orange counties in advance of potentially damaging storm

December 21, 2010 |  4:40 pm

Los Angeles and Orange counties are making emergency preparations in advance of a powerful  thunderstorm expected to arrive before dawn Wednesday.

Orange County officials have issued a local emergency proclamation, concerned about flooding, debris flow and damaging tidal surges. Officials are also opening two 24-hour emergency shelters for the homeless, one at the National Guard Armory at 612 E. Warner Ave. in Santa Ana and the other at 400 S. Brookhurst Road in Fullerton.

Los Angeles County has activated its Foothills Unified Incident Command, which has already ordered evacuations of 232 homes in La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta, said Bob Spencer, a county spokesman. Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich is planning a news conference at 6:30 p.m.

"We're getting set for the deluge that's coming in later tonight," Spencer said.

The evacuations ordered Tuesday were the first for the foothill communities since February, when a slow-moving rainstorm triggered significant flooding along Ocean View Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge, damaging 40 homes and pushing cars down the hillside.

The National Weather Service warned Southern California that the most intense in a series of storms will slam into the region before dawn Wednesday.

This storm could bring with it thunderstorms, hail, and even waterspouts and tornadoes along the Southern California coast early Wednesday, forecasters said.

The storm could drop as much as 0.75 to 1.5 inches an hour in places, which could bring flooding not only in foothills and mountains but across L.A. County, said Stuart Seto, a specialist for the weather service in Oxnard.

Also a problem will be sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph along the coast and in valleys, along with gusts of up to 65 mph in the mountains. It’s possible that more large trees, with their roots soaked in loose soil, could fall on Wednesday.


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-- Rong-Gong Lin II