Years before, the Quilters' home had been destroyed and a neighbor killed. They worked long and hard to rebuild and strengthen their house. Would their efforts protect them this time?
Late last week, as the storm that whipped through Southern California began, Charlie and Ann Quilter weren't much worried.
A retired commercial airline pilot adept at reading weather patterns, Charlie monitored radar on a cable television channel. He figured the rains would be bad but nothing like the angry heart of the storm that had sent mud crashing through their Laguna Beach home nearly 13 years ago, destroying most of it and killing a neighbor who'd been sitting in their living room.
This time they were safe, the Quilters told themselves. After all, they'd worked long and hard to rebuild their canyon home — nestled under a cliff that becomes a waterfall in a storm. They'd buttressed it well enough to withstand nearly any of nature's blows.
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