Rain-related evacuations downgraded to voluntary in Orange County’s Silverado, Williams, Modjeska canyons

A mandatory evacuation order was downgraded to voluntary status Thursday for residents living in Orange County’s Bond Fire burn area.

The downgrade went into effect at 10 a.m. for residents living in the Silverado, Williams and Modjeska canyon areas. Even with the downgrade, officials still warned of possible debris flows near the burn scar area.

Streets in the area that were closed overnight were reopened to local traffic only.

A map with detailed depictions of the areas impacted by the voluntary evacuation can be found at www.ocsheriff.gov/bondfire.

The same areas were subjected to mandatory evacuations during last week’s storm, and residents have since been clearing up the remnants of damage, including downed trees and muddy roads.

Modjeska Canyon resident Marcus Lynch said earlier this month a 65-foot Magnolia tree fell onto his home.

With the consecutive storms, he says he hasn’t had much of a chance to properly shield his home from the rain.

“I couldn’t start and I haven’t started and I don’t know when I’m going to be able to start,” he said ahead of the incoming storm.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Orange County coastal and inland areas and the Santa Ana Mountains, including the Bond Fire burn area. The watch was set to be in effect through Thursday afternoon.

“Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations,” according to the NWS. “Flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas. Flash flooding and debris flows are possible, especially near recent burn scars.”

NWS forecasters for Orange County said the area could receive up to 2.5 inches of rain along the coast and as much as 6 inches in the mountains below 5,000 feet, with an hourly rainfall amount of 0.6 to 0.7 inches possible.

Southern California’s mountain communities are also expected to see more snow.

A winter storm warning took effect at 1 a.m. Wednesday and will remain in place until 4 a.m. Friday in the Los Angeles County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica range. According to the National Weather Service, “heavy snow” is possible, with 1 to 3 feet accumulating above 5,000 feet, and “light snow” falling as low as 4,000 feet. The snow will be accompanied by winds of 35 to 40 mph, with higher-elevation gusts of up to 60 mph.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” according to the NWS. The weather service said that some mountain roadways that could be affected by snowfall include Angeles Crest Highway, Mount Baldy Road and Highway 39.

Caltrans later said workers were clearing Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest north of La Canada Flintridge, and chains were required.

Near Lake Arrowhead, trees came down on powerlines, leaving thousands without power.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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