How an ‘ancient landslide’ keeps threatening a railroad, homes in San Clemente
In this photo taken, Saturday, April 5, 2014, by Alex M. Panas at a home in San Clemente, Calif., a large crack is visible in a canyon wall. The boulder on the right has become wedged in between two rocks that were falling downward when it fell. The boulder and rocks have completely slipped down the hillside. (AP Photo/Alex M. Panas)
LOS ANGELES – An avalanche of dirt, rocks and trees, including boulders larger than cars, fell down the Santa Susana Mountains in Southern California for a third straight day Monday, burying homes and cars in a landslide.
The nearly 50-block slide started early Monday morning and is threatening homes in about six blocks in South San Clemente and San Mateo counties.
More than 100 homes were evacuated from the area as rock and trees came hurtling down hillsides. A mobile home was flattened and a home was swept away in a slide.
“It was catastrophic,” said the manager of La Jolla Cove, a couple of miles south of the slide who was home about an hour before the slide struck. “There was no warning. It was a real bad surprise that morning.” He was at work when he heard the “whump” like noise like a large piece of space shuttle launch on a nearby hillside.
“I ran out, I was not expecting this,” he said, though he did believe the slide would end up causing injuries but not property damage. “I know it looks bad, but we’re fine.”
The slide was triggered by the rain and an under-construction housing development on the Santa Susana side of the mountains.
A witness in South San Clemente said the slide knocked over a tree, and that the tree slid down on a boulder and onto a car parked in the street.
The tree and rock fell on the car and bounced over the street. It hit a parked car and a truck in back and then bounced back on the tree. The tree hit the parked car again and knocked it onto the concrete, a witness said.
A second witness told KGTV