Post Storm Assessment In the Colby Fire Impact Area
December 2 - 3, 2014
This storm was certainly a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde event. Rain and snow in California is welcomed overall, yet for Glendora the hint of rain calls for a significant amount of resources to be put into action in preparation to handle the threat of possible debris and mud flows. National Weather Service reported this to be the strongest storm of 2014. The rain fall in Glendora appears to support their statement. The rain gauge operated by USGS indicated that we received just under 2 inches (1.9 inches) of rain in the 24-hour period. Yet, this storm still falls into what we should expect on average every two years – not a 10-year or 50-year event.
No sooner had we cleaned up from the surprise thunderstorm on November 21st when the next one arrived. Fortunately, we had no significant events occur from this storm. We had an opportunity between the events to shore up areas, and residents had an opportunity to place more sandbags around their properties.
Based on information from our joint teams (National Weather Service, Flood Control, Fire, Police, Public Works, etc.) we placed our alert level at Orange. This appeared to be an appropriate alert status for the event and our needed response.
The County DPW – Flood Control reports the city experienced only a Phase 1 flow – most flows were contained to small areas in the upper foothill properties. Several private driveways such as Rainbow, Hicrest and Englewild were the usual locations for most of our response.
During this recent event we provided another 20,000 sandbags to residents. The total number of sandbags used to assist in our mitigation since February 2014 has now approached 85,000. If laid end to end that would stretch from Glendora to just outside the city of Alhambra or 19 miles.
We have removed approximately 68 dump truck loads of debris/mud from the latest two events combined. County DPW reports that they will need to remove over 45,000 cubic yards of debris from the five basins or about 4,500 dump truck loads.
Our mitigation measures worked extremely well during this event. We had no injuries and only one residential structure suffered some minor damage. Several properties had significant debris deposits on their property.
We again remind residents living in the Colby Fire Impact Area to always be alert and aware anytime rain is forecasted or the skies look like rain could occur. As of this writing, NOAA is forecasting additional storms on December 12th, with the long-term look for December to be much wetter than we have seen in the last 2-3 years in Glendora.