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Don't Worry, Be Ready, Officials Say

Weather: Unpredictable hurricane may or may not bring trouble to O.C.

September 14, 1997|DEBORAH SCHOCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Today could be the calm before the storm--or simply a typical warm September Sunday in Orange County.

As Hurricane Linda heads north, public safety officials are warning against undue worry at the same time that they suggest some practical steps to prepare for what might--or might not--be a major storm.

"The key to all of this is community preparedness," said Capt. Scott Brown, chief spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority.

In short: Orange County residents could spend time today gearing up for possible heavy rains, officials say. Homeowners should clean out gutters and drains and make sure they're working properly, Brown said.

The storm's path is so unpredictable that everyone from firefighters to boaters are closely monitoring weather reports:

* National Weather Service recorded information is available at (619) 289-1212.

* More details on Hurricane Linda can be obtained at National Weather Service web sites: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/products.html and http://nimbo.wrh.noaa.gov/Sandiego/nws.html

Other storm-related information:

* The Orange County Fire Authority has sand and sandbags available to the public in the 19 cities and county unincorporated areas it serves. Call: (714) 744-0496. In other cities, check local fire departments.

* Boat owners should make sure moorings are secure, and that boats are protected with plenty of bumpers, said a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman. Loose gear should be stowed or tied down, and those with anchored vessels should consider special storm anchoring techniques.

* Boaters should stay abreast of weather reports and advisories before leaving shore. For marine forecast information: (805) 278-0760.

* Local harbor information is available from the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol at (714) 723-1002 in Newport Beach, (714) 248-2224 (daytime) for Dana Point division and (714) 840-5222 (daytime) for Huntington Harbor Division.

Southern Californians are used to preparing for earthquakes and fires, and the rules for major storms are much the same, officials say: flashlights and extra batteries, a cache of food and water, emergency contact phone numbers at hand.

Pleasant weather is expected today, with highs in the mid-70s near the coast and upper 80s inland, said Wes Etheredge, forecast meteorologist with WeatherData, which provides information to The Times.

Monday could be windy and humid, with the possibility of widely scattered showers or thunderstorms in Orange County. Heavy rains may fall Tuesday and Wednesday, possibly totaling 2 inches on the coast and 4 inches inland, or much more, said Ted MacKechnie, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. Winds could reach 50 mph.

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