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Stranded in Orange County's Silverado Canyon

December 22, 2010 |  3:36 pm

 After struggling through a noisy night, residents of Silverado Canyon found themselves stranded by torrents of water, mud, boulders, tree branches and other debris that cut off the leafy neighborhood from the rest of Orange County.

“Right now, we can’t get out and they can’t get in,” said Mike Colgan, a former firefighter who has lived in the canyon for 30 years.

“When you live up here, you should accept the responsibility of dealing with nature,”  he said. Still, “this is only the second time I’ve seen this much debris flow, and it’s the first time I’ve seen it happen so quickly.”

It was a long night for Diana Good, who lives in a home perched along Silverado Creek.

“It was a consistent heavy downpour until about 3:30 a.m. in the morning, then the sky just opened up,” Good said. “It was loud, and the boulders were heading down the creek. You could hear them hitting each other like bowling balls. The sound of rushing water was everywhere.”

By daylight, Good emerged to find her yard washing away.  She and her family were busy making preparations to defend their home from the ravages of the storm by shoveling mud and filling sandbags.

“We’ve got a lot of sandbags, a generator and manual labor,” she said.  “If it gets worse, we will be leaving if I have to swim the horses out.”

Doyle Teel and his family were ready to leave the canyon. They had packed up some essentials Monday in anticipation of the storm. The storm rattled them awake through the night with a cascade of boulders in the swollen creek and then had blocked their escape route by Wednesday morning with floodwaters and debris.

“We were stuck,” Teel said.

He spent the morning phoning family members to say they wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas in their Silverado Canyon home.


Photos: Series of storms hits Soutern California

Laguna Beach tourists make the most of stormy weather

Flooding in low-lying Mission Valley forces evacuation of several hotels

-- Nardine Saad in Silverado Canyon

Photo: A wooden bridge that connects two large homes to the main road in Silverado Canyon is broken by the raging, rain-swollen creek. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times