Residents of the Silverado, Williams and Modjeska Canyons were put under mandatory evacuation orders for a few hours Monday afternoon amid concerns the continued rain could lead to a second round of flash floods in the area. 

While the initial messages from the county encouraged residents to get out before noon, the entire area was put under a mandatory evacuation order from 12 to 4 p.m., at which point it was downgraded to an evacuation warning that would expire at midnight.

According to OC Sheriff’s spokesperson Carrie Braun, the mandatory evacuation was only set to last until officials were sure the rain ended.

“The hard closures will last until we have confidence the rain has concluded, and those will be at the mouths of the canyon areas,” Braun said in a phone call with Voice of OC. “We do encourage canyon residents who will be evacuating to get out as quickly as they can before debris flow starts.” 

That debris began rolling in over the afternoon, when the OC Public Works department tweeted footage of them clearing roads with over a foot of mud and rocks already building up.

A flash flood warning is in effect from the National Weather Service until 1 a.m. Tuesday. 

The evacuations follow a series of wildfires over the last two years and another flood earlier this winter that saw another round of mandatory evacuations and some property damage. 

For those reporting storm related problems, county officials are asking people to call 714-955-0200 or 714-955-0333. 

The county originally announced they’d open an evacuation center at Lake Forest Sports Park on 28000 Rancho Parkway, Lake Forest that would remain open “throughout the night,” but cancelled plans to do so during the afternoon, instead encouraging people to find a hotel or stay with friends and family. 

Residents with household pets are encouraged to take them to OC Animal Care on 1630 Victory Road, Tustin, as they will not be allowed at the Lake Forest shelter. 

The areas encouraged to evacuate largely fall in the burn scars of the Bond Fire, the final of three wildfires near the canyons at the end of 2020 that led to a month and a half of multiple evacuations for residents.

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at nbiesiada@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.

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