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STORM CLEANUP UNDER WAY MUD AND WATER CLOSED ROAD, FLOODED HOMES IN SENIOR CENTER.

Byline: Amy Raisin Staff Writer

NEWHALL - A day after intense, constant rain hammered the region, waterlogged carpets, leaky roofs and debris-covered roads confirmed the power of the storm that dumped more water in one day than fell all of last year.

While local roofing companies scrambled to keep up with calls of leaking and sagging roofs, Ellen Vanderleest, whose Friendly Valley home was flooded the day before, inched between four industrial-size fans and her stacked furniture Thursday.

``A company came yesterday and was here until 11, setting up these fans and moving all the furniture,'' said Vanderleest, 80, who lives alone. ``These blowers have been running all night. I had my little tearful time yesterday, but there's not much you can do about it.''

The rush of mud and water into the homes of Vanderleest and a neighbor drew a team of firefighters to the senior citizens community Wednesday morning. Some worked on removing the water and sludge from the homes while other crews diverted the flow from the residences.

In addition to wreaking havoc on freeways and streets, the first major storm of the year forced the closure of a stretch of Bouquet Canyon Road, between Vasquez Canyon and Spunky Canyon roads, that remained closed Thursday afternoon.

A spokesman from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works said crews were working to clear mudslides in the canyon - where thousands of acres burned last summer. It is not known when the road will reopen.

Roofing companies in the Santa Clarita Valley received more calls than they could handle Thursday, despite a reprieve from the rain.

``The calls started (Wednesday) at about 7 a.m. and they haven't stopped,'' said Maribel Torres of Apex Roofing in Newhall. ``We've had at least 100 calls today for leaky roofs, ceilings caving in. The calls will slow down and start up again when the rain comes back.''

While showers are possible today and throughout the weekend, Thursday's dry spell provided officials at the William S. Hart PONY Baseball and Softball Complex fields in Valencia a chance to assess the condition of the fields.

Dan Schlender, corporate vice president of the league, said the storm eroded an already fragile embankment that was fortified a few years ago to protect the fields from flooding. The fields sit in a floodplain at the confluence of the Santa Clara and South Fork rivers.

``That embankment is just being eaten away,'' Schlender said. ``It puts us dangerously close to having some serious problems if it keeps raining. We're quite concerned because this affects 4,000 kids year-round.''

The PONY league season is scheduled to begin next weekend.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) Crews shovel up mud at a North Oakspur Drive residence after heavy rain flooded the Friendly Valley neighborhood.

(2 -- color) Helen Vanderleest, 80, sits in her living room as blowers run at full speed to dry out her home, one of several in her Friendly Valley senior community that were flooded by heavy rains from the year's first storm on Tuesday.

David R. Crane/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 14, 2003
Words:512
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