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After brief respite, rain resumes in foothills of San Gabriel Mountains

February 27, 2010 | 10:23 am
After an hourlong break, rain has begun falling heavily in the slide-prone areas of La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta on Saturday. Officials said they hoped the brief respite had allowed water levels in two large catch basins to decrease.

Bob Spencer, chief of public affairs for L.A. County public works, said the basins -- the Mullaly and Pickens -- have less capacity following the storm front that poured steady rain beginning early in the morning.

He said the Mullaly catch basin is over 50% full. He did not know about the Pickens basin, but said there was potential for them to reach capacity, which could lead to mud and debris overflowing into neighborhood streets, mainly in the Paradise Valley area.

"It's pretty serious," Spencer said. "The hills are extremely saturated."

Fire Capt. Mark Savage of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said 224 homes have been evacuated from La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta.

At least 64 homes were from the Paradise Valley area, but despite the mandatory evacuations, some residents refused to leave. Still, Savage said residents should rethink their decisions and leave their homes while they can.

"Our spotters saw signs of mud and debris flow issues," Savage said. "But we got a break right when things were picking up."

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: Checking flood control channels below Mullally catch basin in La Cañada Flintridge. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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