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Orange County officials are urging residents to evacuate from canyon communities ahead of heavy rain and possible flooding from Thursday night through Friday evening.

The voluntary evacuation warning, issued this morning by the Sheriff’s Department, applies to homes in Silverado Canyon, Williams Canyon and Modjeska Canyon.

“The National Weather Service warns that significant rainfall is expected Thursday night through Friday morning, with a Flash Flood Watch currently in effect through 4:00 PM Friday,” the department said in a news release Thursday morning.

“Heavy rain, subsequent flooding and debris flows are possible. Evacuation routes can quickly become impassable due to mud, debris or flooding.”

Sheriff officials are asking residents “to leave early and make their own arrangements for alternate shelter with friends, family or at a local hotel.”

For those who can’t find shelter, the Red Cross is planning a temporary evacuation center starting at 2 p.m. Thursday at El Modena High School in Orange, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

“We’re gonna get hit. We’re gonna get hit hard,” said Joanne Hubble, a Modjeska Canyon resident who runs a mass email list keeping canyon residents up to date on evacuations.

“If it were me, I would not stay,” she added.

“The fire is never as bad as the flood. And you cannot outrun mud. And people have to remember that back in 1969 people died in the fire station at Station 14, because of mud. People died. And I do not want to see that happen again.”

She encouraged residents to sign up for the county’s Alert OC emergency notifications, including the phone call notification option.

Thousands of sand bags are available at the Modjeska lot at the corner of Modjeska Canyon Road and Santiago Canyon Road, she added.

Orange County Fire Authority officials also published a list of their fire stations across the county where sandbags are available.

[Click here for list live, updated rainfall totals across Orange County from the National Weather Service.]

In their news release, the Sheriff’s Department also gave the following information about the evacuations:

“Any person with disabilities and those with access and/or functional needs requiring evacuation assistance should call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch at 714-647-7000.

Any person needing assistance with animal or large animal evacuations should call Orange County Animal Care 714-935-6848.

To report storm-related issues with a County road or flood control channel, call the Orange County Public Works Storm Center 714-955-0200 during standard business hours and 714-955-0333 during Flash Flood events and emergencies when OC Public Works’ Department Operations Center is activated.

If you need to report a life-threatening emergency, dial 9-1-1.

Evacuation Areas

* Silverado Canyon – Evacuation Warning (Voluntary)

– Williams Canyon – Evacuation Warning (Voluntary)

– Modjeska Canyon – Evacuation Warning (Voluntary)

Road Closures starting at 7:00 PM on Thursday, January 28

– Santiago Canyon Road is open to residents only east of the 241/261 interchange

– Santiago Canyon Road is open to residents only north of Ridgeline Rd.

See map for detailed depictions of the evacuated areas- www.ocsheriff.gov/bondfire  

Sheltering

Residents are encouraged to leave early and make their own arrangements for alternate shelter with friends, family or at a local hotel.

If upon evacuation residents are unable to find shelter on their own, the American Red Cross will be establishing a Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP) at 2:00 PM at El Modena High School – 3920 East Spring Street, Orange CA 92869.

– The TEP is the location where you will be offered resources and coordination to support you with:

o Information about the event as available

o Water and a snack as available

o Assistance locating safe shelter*

* You will not exit your vehicle, unless to use the restroom, to avoid community transmission of COVID-19

*Please anticipate a long wait for sheltering assistance. You may be in your vehicle for up to several hours, so please bring comfort and personal items as appropriate.

Residents are encouraged to check regularly for updates on Facebook and Twitter at:

@OCSheriff

@OCFA_PIO (Twitter)

@OCPublicWorks”

Nick Gerda covers county government for Voice of OC. You can contact him at ngerda@voiceofoc.org.

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