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People in Need: People with disabilities or functional needs, 714-647-7000.
Animals: Call for help with animals large or small, 714-935-6848.
Roads and Flooding: Report storm-related county road or flood control issues. 714-955-0200 in standard hours and 714-955-0333 in off-hours.
Evacuation Map: www.ocsheriff.gov/bondfire
Temporary Evacuation Point: El Modena High School at 3920 East Spring Street, Orange (assistance in finding shelter).
Residents of Silverado, Modjeska and Williams canyons are under mandatory evacuation orders this morning as mudslides began rolling in following a series of wildfires at the end of last year.
Silverado Canyon residents were the first to be ordered to evacuate. Modjeska and Williams canyons were initially under voluntary warnings, but those later became mandatory just before 11 a.m. An evacuation center at El Modena High School opened at noon.
Silverado Road is under nearly three feet of mud, according to the county Public Works department.
Silverado Canyon is closed between Olive Drive and Ladd Canyon Road according to a tweet from the OC Sheriff’s Department. Santiago Canyon Road is also closed from 241 Toll Road to Modjeska Grade Road.
Crews were making “good progress” midday on clearing the roads said Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Carrie Braun in a phone interview.
Just after 2 p.m., OCFA announced they’d freed four residents who were trapped in by the mud in Silverado Canyon, and that they were still moving debris off the roads.
Braun encouraged residents who were cutoff by the mudslides to call the sheriff’s dispatch office at 714-647-7000 to report their location for agencies to focus their efforts in those areas.
The first reports of damage came in the late afternoon, when OCFA tweeted that nine cars were damaged and at least six homes were damaged by mud flow. The county Public Works department is expected to review the damage when it’s safer.
There is also no current plan for additional evacuation centers, but she said that could change based on demand.
The area has been under repeated mudslide warnings following the Silverado and Bond wildfires last fall, burning back to back and forcing canyon residents to evacuate twice in just one month.
So far, the only information on the incident has come from tweets. Those tweets listed the Orange County Public Works department as the lead agency. When Voice of OC reporters called the agency to ask for comment, they were unable to get comment from the agency as no one knew who could provide comment. A tweet from the public works department says they expect it will be hours before the roads are cleared.
Disaster communication has long been a sticking point for Orange County, resurfacing this wildfire season as evacuees struggled to find information on where to go. A 2019 grand jury report found multiple flaws in how public safety agencies communicate with the public, with issues that resurface during the recent wildfire season.
The National Weather Service shows there’s a 70% chance of continued rain through the night, with a 40% chance of showers on Thursday and Friday.
Over half an inch of rain has already come down on Silverado alone in the last 24 hours. The latest rainfall totals are available from the National Weather Service.
Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @NBiesiada.