Heavy Rains Pound Southland

January 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The second significant Pacific storm of the season barreled into Southern California Wednesday, bringing with it strong winds that felled trees, heavy rains that inundated roads and freeways and downpours that prompted mud to flow into homes in Pasadena.

The storm system, which was actually the third to hit the region in three days, is part of what forecasters call a “conveyor belt” of storms typical of an El Nino pattern of repeated rain events over a series of days — saturating hillsides and slowly elevating the risk of flooding and mudslides.

Lea este artículo en Español: Fuertes Lluvias Golpean al Sur de California

While rain fell sporadically much of the morning, major downpours were reported around midday, particularly soaking the Sun Valley area, where the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway flooded, forcing the closure of all but one lane as crews worked to clear drains. Traffic backed up for miles as motorists crawled through the flooded area.

Street flooding has been a nightmare for motorists during both storm systems, hitting several local areas particularly hard Tuesday.

North Broadway in Lincoln Heights was just one of many streets in the region overwhelmed by intense rainfall from the second of four El Nino storms this week.

Two men help push a stalled car out of the flooded intersection of North Broadway and Avenue 21.

Two men help push a stalled car out of the flooded intersection of North Broadway and Avenue 21.

Heavy rain rushing down Avenue 24 flooded the intersection at North Broadway, causing at least one driver to call for help when she was forced to exit the vehicle when it stalled in the deluge and water pushed against the car’s doors.

A group of good Samaritans pushed the car out of the roadway just minutes before police and fire units arrived on the scene.

Just a few blocks away, firefighters had to rescue motorists in a car caught in the flooding on Avenue 26 at the low point below the Gold Line Bridge next to the Cypress Park/Lincoln Heights Station.

It was a scene played out across the basin, with some areas even harder hit.

By mid-morning, the Sepulveda Basin area began flooding, and a series of streets were blocked as water levels rose. One motorist driving a Mini Cooper found himself trapped when water rose up to the car’s doors. The man crawled out of the car and waded to safety without assistance from rescue crews.

The flooding resulted in multiple street closures near the basin. Closures were still in place Wednesday.

In Vernon, severe weather struck late Tuesday afternoon, ripping material off the roof of one building and shattering windows in several others near Loma Vista Avenue and 49th Street.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Robbie Munroe said several reports were made about a weak tornado in the area. Vernon police said witnesses said a tornado caused the destruction. Meteorologists have since characterized the weather event as a “gustnado” or “downburst,” both of which can be the result of unusually strong wind.

An El Niño storm-driven funnel-shaped cloud caused extensive damage to a number of Vernon businesses and parked vehicles.

An El Niño storm-driven funnel-shaped cloud caused extensive damage to a number of Vernon businesses and parked vehicles.

The damage to family-owned furniture manufacturer Arely’s Furniture was so severe it was red-tagged.
“Rainfall rates between one-quarter and one-half of an inch per hour have been observed,” according to the

National Weather Service, which noted that “widespread roadway flooding” was to be expected across the county, along with minor flash flooding with mud and debris flows across the burn areas…”

“Rainfall rates this high have the potential to cause flash flooding and mud and debris flows,” forecasters said. “Showers are expected to continue Thursday and possibly into early Friday.”

Prepared for these Wet Winter Days?

January 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The City and County of Los Angeles are working diligently to inform the community about the preparations that can be taken during these stormy days.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is informing the L.A.’s homeless population of the pending inclement weather, in an effort to keep them safe and dry.

Each geographical division of the LAPD has identified homeless encampments that are in areas subject to flooding, according to a press release sent to the media.

“Officers are out on foot, advising the homeless of the possible flood danger, as well as passing out flyers with locations of available shelters and property storage options,” stated LAPD.

 

Heavy rain flooded streets in Lincoln Heights Tuesday, causing some traffic incidents. (Photo by Nancy Martinez)

Heavy rain flooded streets in Lincoln Heights Tuesday, causing some traffic incidents. (Photo by Nancy Martinez)

 

Signs are posted, warning that heavy rain can cause floodwaters to rise, and public address systems are being utilized to ensure everyone hears the important information.

LAPD informed that if the Los Angeles Fire Department determines there is a predicted or anticipated rainfall within 24 hours, a Rain Notification Tracking Form must be completed, signed by a Watch Commander and forwarded to LAPD’s Real-Time Analysis & Critical Response Division. That form includes the date, time, location and method used for all notifications.

LAFD is Providing Sandbags

The Los Angeles area is periodically subject to floods that result in property damage. The potential for mudslides and debris flow is greatly increased near recent wildfires. Los Angeles residents—especially those in foothill and low-lying communities, are encouraged to prepare their properties in advance of coming rainstorms.

In an effort to help, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) works closely with the Department of General Services and has ordered more than 200,000 ready-to-fill sandbags, made available at all Neighborhood Fire Stations (Please note that residents are welcomed to no more than 25 bags).

LAFD also works very closely with the Bureau of Street Services and has ordered more than 250 tons of sand made available at several fire stations and convenient community locations.

These are some of the locations where residents can pick up their sand bags:

  • Fire Station 44 (Cypress Park), 1410 Cypress Ave., (213) 485-6244
  • Fire Station 42 (Eagle Rock), 2035 Colorado Blvd., (323) 254-5195
  • Fire Station 2 (Boyle Heights), CD 14 Office, 2130 E. 1st St., (323) 526-9332 .
  • Fire Station 42 (Eagle Rock), CD 14 Office, 2035 Colorado Blvd., (323) 254-5195
  • Fire Station 44 (Cypress Park), 1410 Cypress Ave, (213) 485-6244
  • Fire Station 47 (El Sereno), 4575 Huntington Dr South, (213) 485-6247

It is quite normal for potholes to form during heavy rain seasons. To report any new or existing potholes call 3-1-1.

More El Niño preparedness and emergency information can be obtained at the following websites:

LAFD sand bags pick up: http://www.lafd.org/news/lafd-provides-sandbags-homeowners-1

The City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department

Breaking El Niño emergency information

El Niño preparedness information website: http://www.elninola.com

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