Scorched SoCal Hills Ripe for Mudslides

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2008 1:11 PM CST
A massive mudslide that buried homes in La Conchita, Calif.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A Southern California recently ravaged by wildfires will now have to contend with its heaviest rainfall in 9 months—and the possibility of destructive mudslides, the Los Angeles Times reports. The denuded hills of Yorba Linda and Montecito are prime spots for mud flows, having lost vegetation that stabilizes the soil. Today’s storm in the Los Angeles area is expected to deposit between 2 and 3 inches of water.

Officials and firefighters raced to dig trenches and install sandbags to save homes and property. “The only thing you can do at this point is channel the mudflow away from homes,” one official said. Yorba Linda plans to notify residents of possible mudslides with reverse-911 phone calls, a new system that failed miserably during the recent fires: Some homeowners received calls hours after the fires had already passed through their neighborhoods.