Silverado Canyon mudslides trigger evacuations in Southern California


(KTLA) — Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for several Orange County canyons after rain from a cold winter storm that arrived in the region overnight triggered mudslides in Silverado Canyon Wednesday morning.

The orders affect Silverado, Modjeska and Williams canyons.

The mudslides prompted the closure of Silverado Canyon between Olive Drive and Ladd Canyon, the Orange County Fire Authority reported just after 8:30 a.m.

Sections of Silverado Canyon Road are “impassible” due to mudflows, according to OC Public Works. Crews are assessing the road for damage, and it will likely take hours to reopen the stretch, the agency said.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department ordered mandatory evacuations for Silverado Canyon shortly after 9:10 a.m. A mandatory evacuation was then issued shortly before 11 a.m. for Modjeska and Williams canyons.

Residents who were not able to leave because of the mud and debris should shelter in place while crews work to clear the roads, sheriff’s officials added.

Firefighters had to help rescue four people who were trapped in their homes by the mud, according to OCFA.

Video from the scene appeared to show damage to vehicles and property, the extent of which was not immediately known.

The mudslides occurred in an area scorched by Silverado Fire in October and the Bond Fire in December.

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Another mudslide hit Silverado Canyon Road back in January when heavy rain hit the region.

The storm is forecast to bring periods of rain, snow and gusty winds to the region through Friday. It’s expected to provide steady rain much of the day Wednesday, bringing between one-half and 1 inch of rain to coastal and valley locations, according to the National Weather Service.

Local mountains and foothills can expect up to 1 1/2 inches of rain or more in areas hit by potential thunderstorms.

Forecasters are calling for 6 to 12 inches of snow to fall in areas above 4,500 foot in elevation.

Heavy snow was reported Wednesday morning along the 15 Freeway through the Cajon Pass, and snow was also falling on the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine as of 5 a.m.

California Highway Patrol vehicles were escorting drivers as snow plows worked to clear the freeway in the Grapevine.

A winter storm warning has been issued for the San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego county mountains through 10 p.m. Thursday, according to the weather service.

Drivers heading to the mountains will need to bring chains with them, Caltrans warned.

Drivers are reminded to check wiper blades and tire pressure, keep a blanket, snacks and water in their car, and have a phone charger while traveling in winter conditions.

In addition to the rain, forecasters are calling for wind gusts between 35 and 45 mph.

Drier weather is expected to return to the area Friday and continue through the weekend.

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