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By Allison Jarrell
Throughout south Orange County, strong El Niño storms began on Tuesday and continued through Wednesday evening, bringing in enough wind and rain to cause high tides, hail, thunderstorms and flash flooding in some areas.
San Juan Capistrano received just over 2 inches of rain during the last 72 hours, according to the National Weather Service. Local forecasts predict that the city won’t see much rain over the next week, with the exception of a 40 to 50 percent chance of showers on Saturday.
In response to the previous storms, Orange County activated its Emergency Operation Center on Tuesday, and the city of San Juan Capistrano set up its own EOC, ready to be activated if necessary.
The city is also continuing to offer sandbags to residents (with proof of residency) at the following locations: Orange County Fire Authority Fire Station #7, located at 31865 Del Obispo Street; the Public Works counter in City Hall, located at 32400 Paseo Adelanto; and the San Juan Capistrano Community Center, located at 25925 Camino Del Avion. Residents are limited to 10 sandbags per household.
Sand is available at the San Juan Capistrano Library parking lot, located at 31490 El Horno Street, and the San Juan Capistrano Sports Park parking lot. Residents should bring a shovel to fill their bags. For more information, call City Hall at 949.493.1171 or visit www.sanjuancapistrano.org.
The city’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has been actively involved with storm preparations and emergency response, and will hold its next disaster preparedness classes beginning on Jan. 19. The course involves six consecutive Tuesday night sessions from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and a final exercise on Feb 27. Topics include disaster medical operations, fire suppression, light search-and-rescue operations and disaster psychology, team operations and terrorism. For more information, call 949.234.4565 or visit www.sanjuancapistrano.org/CERT.
According to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this year’s El Niño is equal in strength to what was previously the strongest El Niño on record in 1997-1998. For updated weather advisories and precipitation totals for area cities, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/sgx.