mudslide

Mud Streams Down Hillside Above Homes in Orange County's Silverado Canyon

Mud flowed down a hillside in the canyon during an overnight of steady rain in Southern California. Evacuations were ordered in Silverado Canyon.

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A stream of mud flowed down a hillside and surrounded cars and homes Wednesday after hours of rainfall overnight in Orange County's Silverado Canyon area.

The slide was reported in a wildfire burn area near Grundy and Anderson ways after steady rain in Southern California from a late-winter storm. More rain is possible through Thursday before conditions dry on Friday.

Canyon residents said they heard the downpour early Wednesday before the river of mud more than 2 feet deep streamed down the hillside.

"I heard what sounded like. initially, thunder," said resident Ambrose Jimenez. "But as I looked outside, it was boulders coming down both sides of the house with a stream of mud, debris, even a hay bale. So, that's what I woke up to."

The mudslide appeared to have pushed several cars, including two Teslas and a Mercedes Benz AMG GT, and crossed Silverado Canyon Road.

Several homes are in the area at the base of a hillside in the canyon, where a wildfire stripped brush from hillsides in December. When fire burns vegetation from hillsides, it leaves behind a waxy seal that doesn't allow water to penetrate the soil, raising the risk of slides and debris flows.

No injuries have been reported.

A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the Silverado Canyon, Williams Canyon and Modjeska Canyon Bond Fire burn area. A temporary evacuation center was set up at El Modina High School, 3920 E. Spring St. in Orange.

Voluntary evacuation orders were issued for Modjeska and Williams canyons due to anticipated additional rain and the fear of mudslides. Silverado Canyon remains closed due to mudslides between Olive Drive and Ladd Canyon.

More than a half-inch of rain fell over a roughly three-hour period in the area, which was the location of December's Bond Fire that burned more than 6,600 acres.

"They've got at least four mudslides'' in the fire-scarred canyons, said Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Three of the mudslides were considered minor, she added.

"Public works is out there working with the (Orange County Fire Authority) to remove the debris, and that's going to take at least a couple of hours to make the roads passable,'' Braun said at about 10:30 a.m. ``There are also some mudslides on private property so we're looking into reports of that.''

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