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This coverage begins at 6:40 on May 22, and ends at 6:30 on May 23rd. It is chronologically updated, and begins at the bottom, so scroll down to view it from the beginning.


Just got off the phone with CIO Elisa Weaver.  She says that all streets are open now, though there are still some people working on cleanup.  The trails are all still closed, and the Mt. Wilson Trail is considered dangerous.  You are subject to arrest if you are on that trail.  They now have plenty of sandbags at the south entrance of the City Yard for people to pick up, if needed. The Evacuation Center is closed.  No lives lost, no structural damage.  Emergency Operations Center is still open, not sure for how long.  Things look good so long as the rain stays away.  National Weather Service Forecast for Sierra Madre: Tonight: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 52. South southwest wind between 6 and 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.  Saturday: Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 60. South southwest wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.  Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51. South southwest wind between 3 and 7 mph.   Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 64. South southwest wind between 3 and 9 mph.


Just received this letter from Pete Siberell, which was sent to all entrants in the Trail Race.


Here's the promised update from my 12:25 telecon with James Carlson, CIO for the City.  As of now, the Evacuation Center is not open.  If evacuations go from voluntary to mandatory, it will be re-opened.  Also, as we get closer to evening, with or without change in evacuation order, the situation will be assessed to determine if it should re-open.  Michelle Keith and Elisa Weaver have left a conference in Northern California early to return.  Expected early afternoon.  Bruce Inman, who is on vacation, has spent a lot of time on the phone with City Manager Elaine Aguilar and others.  The city has an engineering consultant on retainer, he has been assessing the situation, as well.  The Chantry gate is closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future.  Bailey Canyon and Mt. Wilson Trail are both closed.  Crews are working on Woodland Land and Skyland Drive.  Additionally, crews are observing burn areas around N. Auburn, 1 Carter, Lotus Lane and Sunrise Hill.  Currently we are receiving assistance from LA County, Arcadia, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue.  The helicopters overhead have not been brought in by the City.  As far as we know, they are media copters.  However, the US Geological Service could send in copters without being asked by the City, but since they are unsolicited, the City doesn't have to pay for them. Sandbags are available to residents at the City Yard.

Also, we now have named the event.  The official name is Santa Anita Incident.


Another call from James - status of Trail Race has changed from "postponed till June 7th" to "postponed, new date to be determined."


Just got this e-mail from a trusted source: 

I just left the MUDSLIDE area on Woodland. The clean-up is coming along very well. There are about 30 or so County Correctional crew members cleaning homeowners yards and driveways. The trucks and front loaders are removing mud at a rapid pace. County and SM Public Works is making short order of the mud. We couldn't ask for a better response.

Just got off the phone with James Carlson at the City.  I'll be posting his briefing in a couple minutes, but for now, the Trail Race has been postponed till June 7th.



For those wondering, as of now, no official word has been released on whether the Trail Race will go on tomorrow, but there is discussion of possibly postponing it.  I am told that there have not YET been any washouts of the trail.


The City has called for an emergency Council Meeting at 1pm to declare a state of emergency.


Got a voice mail about 10:45 from Carol Canterbury who was at the City Yards, and so far only one family has come for sand bags, so that's a good sign.  Also got another call from Lisa Spigai-Perez, who tells me that there's definitely mud on the streets up at north Skyland, but that the road is closed and there are people working on cleaning it up. Unless you live there or have business there, please stay out of the area/way.  No official word on the Trail Race yet, but I am trying to find out.  Will let you know when I know.


Just got off the phone with James Carlson, CIO, over at the EOC, which reopened at 7am this morning.  The evacuation orders, WHICH ARE VOLUNTARY, are on Woodland, which is now closed to traffic at Sturtevant, and on Skyland, also closed to vehicle traffic.  James said that the official evac orders from the City are all and have always been voluntary.  He said that if, as has been reported elsewhere, an officer stated that the evacuation was mandatory, that officer may have made an  independent decision, presumably based on his/her observation of the situation and the need, but that the City has always had the evacuation classified as voluntary.  James said that he had been up in the area at about 6am this morning, and that there was at that time new mud flow on Yucca Trail.  He said he has received reports that there is mud on Skyland, but does not know if it is new mud or existing mud, as he does not know how much of Skyland got cleared out before the second wave of rains came.  He was not yet aware as to whether anyone took advantage of the Red Cross shelter at the park.  I asked him about the helicopters I heard from my window, he said that as of 7am, all the helicopters he observed were media helicopters, and he was not aware of any non-media helicopters involved.

Also got a phone update from Commissioner Lisa Spigai-Perez, who said that she had been in the upper canyon area, up at Canyon Crest, and it seems to be fine.  There is no debris flow coming out of the dam area.

Received an e-mail from a Pasadena Glen resident whose home survived the 1993 fire and 1994 debris flow seasons.  They wanted to remind everyone that the flow danger does not stop with the end of the rains, as there may be areas where flow is blocked by natural debris and that debris "dam" could burst even after the rains have stopped.  They urge everyone to stay safe.


In the last few minutes, the rain really seems to have died down here on Lima, from the rather heavy rain that had been falling since before I got woken up about 3am.  It's just a sprinkle now.  Hopefully it's the same in the burn areas, and will come to a complete stop soon.  I'm gonna take a quick nap, will update you as soon as I know anything else.  Unless the rain kicks up again, the only news will probably have to do with the Mt. Wilson Trail, and the Race, as what I saw indicated no new damage, though I didn't go up to Skyland, so who knows.  Probably won't know much about the race till later in the day, though.  Last I heard, crews were scheduled for the afternoon, though with the rain, Pete and Search and Rescue may go up sooner to assess what damage if any there is from tonight's downpour..  Will let you know when I know something.


Went by the EOC about 3:30 or so, it was closed.  Went to the Evac Center at Sierra Vista Park, it was dark.  There was a Red Cross vehicle, with trailer there.  Went up to the canyon, surprisingly there was a parking space by Mary's.  BTW, on the way up, there was an engine, a paramedic unit and a police vehicle at a private residence on Mountain Trail, below Grand View.  No sign of anybody up at the Canyon, though.  Walked up past Yucca Trail, all seemed fine.  There was lots of water running down the road, but no new mud that I could tell.  Walked up Yucca Trail, there was no moving mud, and what mud was there had great big tire tread from the City's equipment, it was obviously not new mud.  Above Yucca Trail on Woodland, no mud, nothing but water coming down.  There were only about a half dozen or so sandbags though, and not much sand, though there was no shortage of mud.  Most of the mud I saw was a hundred feet or so above Mary's, but again, it wasn't really moving.  I'll post a pic in a minute that shows water still flowing into the drain just above Mary's Market, no blockage.  Drove over to Marlborough Terrace.  Went up Churchill Road a little ways past Old Ranch Road, saw no evidence of moving mud.  Drove by 1 Carter at about 4:15, the sandbags at the entrance at the top of Baldwin had not been breached.  Went by the Evac. Center, still dark.  Went by SMFD, the door was down, station dark. 

Intersection at Woodland and Yucca Trail, 4:05am.  Only thing moving is the water

Looking up Yucca Trail, same thing. 4:06am

Drain on Woodland, 100 to 150 feet above Mary's.  Plenty of water flowing into the unclogged drain.  4:10am


No answer at the EOC, will head out to find out what I can.  FYI - Community and Personnel Services Director Michelle Keith and Assistant Director (and emergency Community Information Officer) Elisa Weaver are both out of town.  Director of Public Works Bruce Inman is on vacation this week.

MUDSLIDE UPDATE 5/23/08 3:09am

Just got woken by my wife, who told me it was raining real hard, so I got up to check status.  Found an e-mail from James Carlson received at 12:17am.  He emphasized that what he was saying to me was NOT official, this was not a release from the City just some observations.  He said that Unfortunately the Woodland clean-up took longer than expected.  Crews and volunteer residents worked incredibly well.  As he left the EOC (apparently about 11:40pm), Chris Cimino of Public Works briefed them that he expected another hour, making it 12:40 or so.  He said that his observations in the canyon showed that observations showed that the huge majority of debris down Woodland originated from Yucca Trail (Nature Friends) and there was extremely little above Yucca on Woodland.  He noticed a very small flow at the Woodland/Brookside intersection.  It extended only 6 feet into the street or so.  He said that as of then, the evacuation site was scheduled to be open until noon Friday.  It is being staffed by the Red Cross and City Staff.  (This may change, but that was the latest he knew).  PD will oversee the reopening of Woodland and Skyland, and they are the contact for this information.  At that time, City Manager Elaine Aguilar was the one to make the decision to officially close the EOC.  She indicated that she would remain, possibly with a few other staff until the clean-up crews were done. James was allowed to go home with the understanding that he is close, and could come down if needed.  I'm going to call the EOC and get the latest, but thought I'd post this.  Thanks to James for keeping me up to date.  Again, this is his personal observations that I'm posting, this is not official City output.



About 8:15pm, I got hold of Mt. Wilson Trail Race Committee Chair Pete Siberell, who was on the Mt. Wilson Trail with John Grace, a geologist, and members of the world famous Sierra Madre Search and Rescue team.  Pete told me that he was encouraged by what he saw, that it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be.  He said that the geologist said that if it doesn't rain tomorrow, it should be okay to run the race Saturday, but if it rains tomorrow, there could be problems due to saturation.  I asked if the determination had been made that if it rains tomorrow the race is off, or if it rains tomorrow, the situation will be re-assessed based on the new conditions.  Pete said that the situation will be re-assessed.  There will be a crew of people working on the trail tomorrow.  If there is no more rain, odds are that the race is a go.  The determination will be made by Pete Siberell and the Trail Race Committee, Search and Rescue, and the Community Services Dept.  The following pictures were taken about 8:10pm.

Closed sign partially obscures sign just posted thanking the folks who got the trail back in shape for the race, prior to the recent weird weather.




The following pictures, mostly on Woodland Lane between Mary's Market and Alta Vista, were taken between 7:32pm and 7:57pm.  I saw folks from Sierra Madre Public Works, LA County Fire, LA County Sheriff's, and City of Arcadia.


Received the following by e-mail at 7:45pm from the City but it was titled as a 7PM update. I was up in the canyon taking pictures, which I will post shortly, that's why the delay posting this.  Also got an update on the Trail Race.  I'll post the details shortly, as well.  But as of now, Mt. Wilson Trail is closed, but Trail Race Committee Chair Pete Siberell, who was on the trail when I talked to him, was encouraged by what he saw, and said that if it doesn't rain tomorrow, crews can probably have it in shape in time for the race.  Check back soon for more.

City Press Release: Voluntary evacuations are still in effect on Skyland Drive, north of Idlehour Lane; and on Woodland Drive, north of Maryís Market, due to mud flows.  Sierra Vista Park at 611 East Sierra Madre Blvd. has been opened as an evacuation center.  Woodland Drive is anticipated to be reopened at 9 pm.


Just spoke to Public Information Officer James Carlson.  He says the City received reports of mudflow from the top of Woodland, Yucca Trail by the Nature Friends, and Skyland.  Confirmed the 2-hour clean-up figure that Glenn gave me, said he was told that by Public Works at around 6:30.  From there they will go to Skyland.


Just spoke to Glenn Lambdin, who said he had just walked up towards Mary's Market.  He said that mud had come down by the Nature Friends and flowed out into the street towards Mary's Market.  Said that he was told the City expects to have it cleared out in a couple hours, they've got the equipment clearing it out right now.  Said it appears to be more messy than destructive, from what he observed. 

MUDSLIDE UPDATE 5/22/08, 6:40pm

I was in downtown L.A. at jury duty, just got in and found these updates in my e-mail....

Received: 6:30pm - Public Works has made sand and sand bags available at Mary Marketís and the Public Works Yard. The Fire Department has sand bags ONLY available.  There are voluntary evacuations of residents on Skyland, North of Idle Hour. There also voluntary evacuations on Woodland, North of Maryís Market.  The Sierra Vista Park at 611 East Sierra Madre Blvd has been opened as an evacuation center.

Received: 5:03pm - Due to the conditions created by the recent Santa Anita Fire and the recent rain, the City of Sierra Madre will be providing sand bags to residents.  Sand and sand bags are available at Maryís Market, the Fire Station and the City Yards. Residents will need to fill the sand bags with sand if they are needed. Thank you.

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