City, county prepares for monster storm

City street maintenance worker Louie Aguilar rides in the back of a city truck as it crosses the creek at Oakcreek Avenue in Placerita Canyon as he prepares to place a "road closed" sign on the other side of the creek ahead of the Feb. 17 storm. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Crews were hard at work throughout the city and county Thursday to prepare roads and debris basins for one of the biggest storms this season.

“They are everywhere.  I was out there [in the city] this morning and all you see are dirt haulers going up and down those roads clearing debris,” said Carrie Lujan, communications manager for the city of Santa Clarita.  “They are doing everything they can to prepare for the storm.”

These preparations included clearing debris basins, setting up sandbags near vulnerable areas, moving objects from streets and closing vulnerable roads.

A horseback rider follows the trail along the creek in Placerita Canyon on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, as city street maintenance workers place “road closed” signs on each side of the creek ahead of Friday’s anticipated storm. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Officials also noted a Flash Flood Watch is in effect Friday morning through Saturday morning for the Santa Clarita Valley.

The storm is expected to produce the heaviest rains between 10 am and 10 pm on Friday. Strong winds are expected to hit between 50 to 80 mph during the storm.

Residents in Sand Canyon, Placerita Canyon, Iron Canyon and areas of Val Verde, Little Tujunga and Agua Dulce/Acton (Soledad Canyon Road, from the 7000 block in Agua Dulce to the 11430 block in Acton) should be aware that they may not have access in or out of their neighborhood during the storm, warned the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s department.

Residents are advised to stay in place during the worst of the storm, they said.

Officials also plan to close portions of both Bouquet Canyon Road and roads in the Placerita Canyon area Thursday night before the worst of the storm hits Friday morning.

County crews spent several days clearing debris stations and removing blockages throughout the Santa Clarita Valley and Los Angeles County.

“The debris basins that we were most concerned about were cleaned out to max capacity,” said Steven Frasher, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.  “We’re as ready as we can be in terms of the upcoming storm.”

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works works to dig out mud and debris near k-rails that block homes from the path of mudflow on Iron Canyon Road off of Sand Canyon on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, ahead of anticipated weekend storms. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Residents were encouraged to pick up free sandbags from Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Stations throughout the area to defend their homes against potential flooding and mud and debris flow.

Sand Canyon resident Ray Real made about a dozen sandbags at Fire Station 123 on Sand Canyon Road Thursday to defend his home from flooding and mud flows, which caused residents to evacuate their homes Jan. 21.

“I have to sandbag this corner because the mud is coming through again… Hopefully I can stop the mud,” he said.  “I want the rain but I don’t want it to be that bad.”

Real said that last time mud flows rushed by his home, he and other residents had to use a tractor to remove debris and mud out of the way.

“It’s the mud I have a problem with here on the other side of the tracks,” he said.  “It’s pretty bad.”

Santa Clarita resident Ray Real makes sandbags in front of Fire Station 123 on Sand Canyon on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in anticipation of Friday’s storm that will bring a predicted six inches of rain to the area. Katharine Lotze/Signal

The storm is expected to reach the Santa Clarita Valley Thursday night before bringing heavy downpours and thunderstorms throughout the day and night Friday.

The NWS projects that several inches of rain will fall throughout the weekend and into Monday evening when the storm moves through the area.

High winds will also accompany the storm Friday, with southeast winds at 15 to 25 miles per hour (mph) and gusts up to 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

A Cold Weather Alert was also issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for the Los Angeles County Mountains until Monday.  Snow levels will reach 6,000 feet Friday night before they rise to 8,000 feet Saturday.

To stay up to date on the latest weather reports and news, visit The Signal’s Weather Center at

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