In case you somehow missed it, Los Angeles is preparing for a significant winter storm. In fact, the entire state is bracing for a strong Atmospheric River (AR) storm that will hit the state starting Saturday night into Tuesday. This AR will be of longer duration and stronger than the one that moved through California on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. A flood watch is in effect from Sunday at noon through Tuesday at 4 p.m. as well as a wind advisory from 4 p.m. Sunday to early Monday morning.
Locally the storm is expected to start this evening and run through Tuesday with the heaviest rain on Sunday after 10 a.m. and Monday. Forecasters expect the storm to bring between 3-6 inches of rain overall with 6-12 inches in the mountains and foothills. The rate of rain will be heavy with up to an inch per hour and 2-3 inches within a 3 hour period. The storm will bring damaging winds as well as heavy rain that could result in power outages and flooding both in roads and freeways.
LA City emergency officials are advising residents to get prepared for the next several days of rain.
“Officials recommend that you make sure you have everything you need like diapers, prescriptions, pet food, etc, so you don’t have to go out during the storm,” said Gary Gilbert, Windsor Square Association’s Emergency Preparedness coordinator. “It’s also a good idea to make sure your phones and other devices stay charged in case we have a power outage.”
Power outages are common in the neighborhood because of our aging infrastructure. Many residents have acquired generators to keep essential systems going like sump pumps in basements. If you live on a street that tends to flood, consider parking your car on higher ground to avoid potential flood damage to your car, and be careful not to park in front of a storm drains.
“We are looking out to make sure nobody is parking in front of the storm drains,” Adam Greenfield, a Hancock Park resident who lives on Lilian Way told the Buzz.
“My advice is to stay indoors! And park your cars on higher ground,” Caroline Debbane, president of the association of owners at 585 Rossmore told the Buzz. “The level of rain coming our way is impressive. We’ll be barricaded in the hopes that the property stays untouched.”
Buzz writer Deborah Brooks said she still has sandbags in front of her garage door from last year’s rains.
“Unsightly but necessary,” said Brooks. She also did some repairs last year to an exterior wall and caulked windows that had been damaged last year. “So far everything has held tight!” she said.
The Hancock Park Homeowners Association sent this helpful list of precautions to residents.
When preparing for the storm, take the following actions:
- Secure your outdoor space- move furniture, umbrellas, and other light weight items to indoor or secured areas so they do not fly away
- Gather emergency supplies that will allow you to shelter in place during the storm, including food, water, radios, medication, and pet supplies
- Prepare for power outages with batteries, flashlights, backup cell phone chargers and charging cables
- Sign up to receive text, email, and phone call emergency alerts for your home, work, and school at https://www.notifyla.org
- Pick-up sandbags from your local fire station. More information here: https://www.lafd.org/news/lafd-provides-sandbags-homeowners
- Prepare medical devices and cell phones for potential power outages by charging them completely and getting back-up systems ready
- Check in on your neighbors to make sure they know about the storm conditions and are prepared
- Check storm drains where you live and in your neighborhood to make sure they are cleared of debris
During the storm, take the following actions:
- Avoid driving if at all possible. Dangerous road conditions are anticipated throughout the region. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads
- Bring pets inside during the storm to keep them safe from falling debris
- Call 911 for life-threatening situations, such as people trapped by flooding or damaged trees, and debris flows threatening buildings
- If you see flooding, fallen trees, or other significant damage that isn’t immediately life threatening, report it via 311, which will be operating with extended hours during the storm. Call 3-1-1 or visit https://lacity.gov/myla311
- Assume all downed power lines are electrified and dangerous. Report power issues to the Department of Water and Power by calling 1-800-342-5397
- Do not operate generators indoors or in garages. Generator operation tips can be found here: https://www.fema.gov/fact-sheet/use-generators-safely-home
- Monitor https://emergency.lacity.gov/updates for information on the latest storm updates and City response.
Finally, here are links from Mayor Karen Bass’s office for important resources:
- Angelenos should register at NotifyLA to receive local alerts.
- Follow updates from the Los Angeles City Emergency Management Department here.
- Follow announcements involving significant road closures or transportation impacts here.
- Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) crews are prepared to respond to any potential power outages. The Department is monitoring the storm system closely and will respond accordingly with the ability to schedule crews to be available around the clock. LADWP call centers will also have additional staffing to accommodate any potential increases in call volume during the storm via 1-800-DIAL-DWP or go online here.
- The 311 system will expand its operating hours until 10:00 PM on Sunday. Use the request service through LACity.gov/myla311 or by calling 311 or downloading the MyLA311 app.
- For unhoused Angelenos, the city has increased the number of interim shelters and vouchers ahead of the rain and will continue to assess the need for more beds. Those in need of shelter can call 2-1-1 or the LAHSA Winter Shelter Line at 1-800-548-6047. Recreation and Parks sites will open at 5:00 PM on Saturday, February 2nd and transportation will be made available through 211.
A final note, organizers of the Sunday Larchmont Farmers Market told the Buzz that the market will be open as usual this Sunday.
“The market operates rain or shine,” said Melissa Farwell, adding, “If it’s dangerous we will close.”
Looking ahead, last Fall we reported on new flood maps created by scientists at UC Irvine that consider flooding during periods of prolonged heavy rain caused by an AR storm like what we are expecting this weekend. The new maps show where and how places in the county could flood in a “100-year” rain event – the kind of rainstorm so severe it would occur only once in 100 years, or – put another way – of which there’s a 1% chance each year. While this weekend’s storm is considered severe, it is expected to move out of the region after several days so not likely to cause be a “100-year” rain event.