The City of Sierra Madre has issued a Green Flag Alert for mudslides and debris flows in the hillside communities. The National Weather Service has forecasted an 80% chance of rain for this morning (Wednesday October 6, 2010).
A Green Flag Alert is issued when there is an 80% chance or more of precipitation. Affected residents should get ready for potential evacuation and keep close watch on weather forecasts. This includes residents of the Upper and Lower Canyon as well as any resident whose property abuts the hillsides.
Due to the Santa Anita fire in April of 2007, the hillsides where stripped of much of the vegetation causing the potential for mud and debris flows to enter residential areas. The City of Sierra Madre has developed a three-color flag alert system as part of its ‘Ready for Seven’ emergency preparedness program.
A series of three different colored flags will be flown at four different locations in the City (City Hall, Search and Rescue Station, Mountain Trail at Churchill Road, and Mary’s Market). When possible, flags will be displayed indicating one of three stages of emergency. Be sure to check the website, email alerts, SMTV3, AM 1630, or simply call City Hall or the Police Department to confirm the current stage of emergency and please understand the City may not always have the ability to change these flags the moment conditions or forecasts change.
The City has identified a number of streets that will need to be clear of all vehicles during a Yellow Flag or Red Flag alert. The affected streets are: Mount Wilson Trail, Churchill Rd., Skyland Dr., Fern Glen, Fern Dr., Idlehour Ln., Canyon Crest Dr., Orange Dr., Woodland Dr., Brookside Lane, Sunnyside Lane, and Yucca Trail. The Yellow and Red Flag Alerts will trigger vehicles being towed from these streets at the owners’ expense
Stage One: GREEN FLAG - Activated under a prediction of 80% - 100% chance of precipitation. Affected residents should get “READY” for potential evacuation. This includes keeping a close watch on weather forecasts.
Stage Two: YELLOW FLAG - Activated with an LA County Phase 1 mudflow forecast, or deemed consistent with the County’s forecast thresholds. This is described as small, isolated debris and mudflows possible at specific locations. Affected residents should get “SET” to leave their homes and may choose to voluntarily evacuate. Please note that all vehicles must be off the streets in potential mudflow areas during Yellow Flag alerts.
Stage Three: RED FLAG - Activated with an LA County Phase 2 or 3 forecast. Phase 2 includes moderate debris and mudflows at more widespread locations. Phase 3 - the potential exists for significant debris and mudflows to be widespread. Affected residents should “GO”, meaning they should immediately evacuate, and vehicles should not be parked on the streets.
When evacuating, please plan to be as self-sufficient as possible with important paperwork, medications, and clothing for at least seven days. It is important anticipate a possible evacuation order, and make plans for your pets in advance.
Please note that Public Safety Officials do not take evacuation orders lightly and residents should heed these orders. Once mud begins to flow, Emergency Responders will NOT rescue those who failed to evacuate until the mud has stopped flowing and it is safe for responders to enter the mud flow areas.
For more information about mudslide and debris flow preparations, please visit www.cityofsierramadre.com and click “Emergency Preparedness Information” and on the home page. Updates will also be issued on SMTV3 (Time Warner-channel 3), Sierra Madre Community Radio (AM 1630), and the City’s Emergency Blog (http://sierramadrepio.blogspot.com