16 December 2008

Carbon Canyon Road Mudslide Threat #2

This morning as I drove west on Carbon Canyon Road into Brea it was obvious that the estimated 1.5 to 2 inches of rain that largely fell overnight on Sunday/Monday and into late Monday morning had caused some fairly substantial amounts of mud and debris to be carried onto the highway by the rainfall. There was no evidence of major sliding, but it can be easily seen just how significant the Freeway Complex fire's scorching of the canyon was in terms of removing any major barriers to the erosion of top soil during rain episodes. Total rainfall for the season stands at around 3.5 to 4 inches and, if we get a normal year of precipitation, we are only 1/3 of the way there. Once again, there is a certain amount of water the hillsides can hold and slides are not necessarily going to happen during a storm but very well can occur afterwards. The essential point is that slides can occur anytime between now and the end of the major period of rainfall, extending to at least the end of February, but quite possible afterward. It can be expected that CalTrans will shut the road down when the forecast calls for heavy rainfall, but, again, slides can occur at any time, even when it is not raining. We'll just have to see what happens, but it could be a long winter in the Canyon in the aftermath of the fires and the coming of rain.

3 comments:

inthedish said...

thank you for posting about this. my grandmother and her siblings grew up in the oil fields, and it's always interesting for me to read. BTW this was during the great depression, and apparently the company provided housing for some of it's workers.

inthedish said...

sorry, I meant to post the comment in the oil fields post!

Paul said...

Hello "inthedish", thanks for your comment. Outside of La Vida Mineral Springs, the most information I can find about the Carbon Canyon area is on the Olinda oil fields. There will be more soon, including some great 1916 photos of what I'm almost certain (not completely, though) is Olinda. So, come back from time to time and check for more!