How to prepare for a huge storm that’s about to hit California

It’s shaping up to be another rainy week in California.

A storm hit the state on New Year’s Eve, dumping epic amounts of water on northern California – including 5.46 inches of rain on San Francisco, the city’s second wettest day in more than 170 years, according to the National Weather Service. And the agency says more is to come: A “potentially deadly weather event” begins on Wednesday.

California needs more rain. We are still firmly anchored in drought territory, despite the heavier than average snowpack generated by recent weather conditions. But heavy rains after years of drought can cause life-threatening flooding and mudslides.

“The Sierra’s heavy snowpack is good news, but unfortunately those same storms are bringing flooding to parts of California,” Karla Nemeth, director of the state’s Department of Water Resources, said in a statement. interview with the Times. “This is a prime example of the threat of extreme flooding during a prolonged drought as California experiences more oscillations between wet and dry periods brought about by climate change.”

An atmospheric river is expected to begin dumping rain across much of the state Wednesday morning, bringing flooding and winds up to 50 mph. In a forecast for northern California, the National Weather Service said “impacts will include widespread flooding, washed out roads, rolling hills[s] collapsing, felled trees [potentially full groves], widespread power outages, immediate disruption of trade and, worst of all, probable loss of life. It really is a brutal system that we are looking at and that needs to be taken seriously.

The rain is expected to continue through Friday, then more rain is expected over the weekend. Northern California will likely be hardest hit, but the entire state is expected to be soaked.

Here’s how to stay safe and prepare for this week’s storms.

How to prepare before the rain starts

While the skies are still clear, it’s time to prepare so you can crouch down before the atmospheric river hits. Basically, you want to prepare as if you were going to stay at home for a few days, with high possibilities of flooding, power outages, or both.

Sign up for alerts and check for updates often. Sign up to receive emergency alerts. For the city of Los Angeles, it’s Notify LA. If you’re anywhere else in LA County, you can find your municipality’s notification system registration here. For other locations, search for “emergency alerts (your city or county)”.

For the latest information, you can listen to live weather radio broadcasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration anytime online.

To stay up to date with potential outages, sign up for alerts from your utility company and bookmark the outage map from their website. In much of Southern California, the supplier will be Southern California Edison, which has a breakdown map and allows you sign up for email, text and phone alerts. In the city of Los Angeles, you can check the LA Department of Water and Power Outage Map and, if you have an account with the DWP, sign up for alerts on its website. Here is the outage map for San Diego Gas & Electric and instructions on how to download the app with alerts. And here’s where to find Outage map for Pacific Gas & Electricwhich serves much of the rest of California, and where to sign up for these alerts.

Make a plan. How will you communicate with family members in other parts of town or state? Have you written down their phone numbers somewhere in case your smartphone battery runs out? Do you have supplies to care for pets, young children, and people in your household with special medical needs? Where will you go if you have to evacuate?

Check your emergency kit. Is your emergency kit ready? Do you have food, water and flashlight batteries? Enough medicine, pet food, formula and diapers for a few days? Hard soled shoes, work gloves, goggles, duct tape, a first aid kit and heavy trash bags? How about a fire extinguisher, some cash and a wind-up weather radio? Here is the complete list of things that should be in your emergency kit.

Prepare as if the power might go out. Here is a comprehensive list of what to do before, during and after a power outage. The short version: charge your devices, including phones and laptops (and maybe a portable power bank, if you have one). Put a flashlight, a pair of glasses and a pair of shoes near your bed. Fill your car’s gas tank or charge its battery. Check the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. Plan a few meals that won’t require you to open your fridge or freezer. Complete a puzzle, board game or craft project.

Prepare your home for potential flooding. Recently burned areas are the most prone to flooding, said Bryan La Sota, coordinator of the city’s emergency management department, but with the forecast for this storm, “everyone should be prepared.” Clean your gutters and make sure there is no debris near your storm drains or other drainage areas on and around your property. Consider bringing or attaching patio furniture, grills and trash cans. You might even consider moving valuables from the ground floor to an upper floor of your home.

What to do during the storm and potential flooding

Stay at home. The safest place during a storm is your home. Don’t take trips beyond what is absolutely necessary, said National Weather Service meteorologist David Sweet.

If you go out, bring supplies and exercise caution. East Coast drivers making what should have been short trips found themselves stranded in their cars for hours during holiday snowstorms. If you do venture out in your car, bring extra food, water, a phone charger, and a first aid kit, as well as enough clothing and blankets to stay warm.

Avoid flooded sidewalks and roadways. It’s hard to tell how deep the water is just by looking at it, and you can’t tell what the road condition is underwater. Just six inches of moving water can knock an adult down or reach the bottom of a car and cause loss of control and stalling. Two feet of water can sweep a vehicle off the road, including an SUV or pickup truck. The weather service has a saying for what to do when you see a flooded street or road: turn around, don’t drown.

Heat, light, charge and cook safely at home. Don’t use a grill indoors, don’t run a generator indoors, and if you’re using your gas-powered car to charge your phone or other device, make sure you have adequate ventilation. If you need lights, use flashlights or other battery-powered sources. Yes, it’s peak candle season, but the risk of fire isn’t worth it when the emergency services are already called upon.

Heed evacuation orders. If you are told to evacuate, leave. Here’s what to pack for an evacuation.

If your house is flooded, go upstairs, not out. If water begins to rise in your home before you can safely evacuate, go to higher ground – an upper floor or the roof, if necessary – and wait for help. Don’t try to swim to safety.

What to do after the storm is over

Do not touch downed power lines.

Check with family and neighbors.

Assess the damage. Make sure your home and yard are free of debris and water damage. Call 311 for non-emergency services.

Stay safe on the road. Even after the rain stops, streets could still be flooded or closed off by downed trees and other debris. Allow extra time to reach your destination and take into account any road closures.

Be careful before going to the beach. There is a possibility of coastal flooding with this storm system, Sweet said, and parking lots and driveways near the water can be flooded. Seawater can also be contaminated with dangerous levels of bacteria after the storm.

Replace any items you have used in your emergency kit. Make sure you’re ready for next time. We have a newsletter called Unshaken on how to prepare for an earthquake or other disaster in a few simple steps.


Los Angeles Times

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
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