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Climate and Environment

A Storm Is Coming. LA Fire Officials Have These Tips On Getting Ready Now

Through raindrop-speckled glass, there are palm trees and the Hollywood sign in the distance. The sky is grey.
The Hollywood sign is seen through raindrops on a window in Hollywood, California, on Jan. 10, 2023.
(Stefani Reynolds
AFP via Getty Images)
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Unusually snowy conditions in the mountains, strong winds, and rain are forecasted this Thursday through Saturday, and the Los Angeles Fire Department has sent out tips for residents to be ready.

The storm will bring gusts as high as 75 mph; 1 to 5 inches of snow could fall in mountains north of L.A. as low as 1,500 feet and elevated flood risks to the rest of L.A., according to the department. The National Weather Service says traveling through the mountains may be very difficult, or even impossible.

With this in mind, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) has some recommendations for people to prepare for the storm:

Ahead of bad weather you should...

  • Install the Red Cross Emergency App: Receive weather alerts and find Red Cross shelters.
  • Review your Family Emergency Plan: Create strategies in case of a flood, mudslide, or serious storm damage. Remember to plan for pets, older adults, and those with special needs. 
  • Prepare battery-powered lamps (no candles).
  • Inspect your Emergency Supply Kit: It should have food, water, medication, a battery-operated radio, rain gear, first aid and sanitation supplies. 
  • Prepare for a possible insurance claim: Narrate a “video tour” of your entire home to give to your insurance company. It helps to photograph receipts of major items, too. Keep a copy of the insurance phone number and your policy number in your phone. 
  • Prepare your go-bag. Here is a handy video on essentials. 

What can I do around my home to prevent damage?

  • Clear water channels — such as drains, gutters, troughs, pipes, culverts — free of debris.
  • Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, and hand tools handy for storm water issues.
  • Turn off the sprinklers and lower the level of your swimming pool to prevent flooding.
  • Secure outdoor furniture, trash containers.
  • Consider using plastic sheeting on slopes prone to erosion. Here’s a nifty video explaining how to do it

Need sandbags? LAFD has them

The LAFD is offering free ready-to-fill sandbags at all neighborhood fire stations. You can find an LAFD station in this nifty interactive map. They say you can use soil. They do offer sand, but it’s in limited quantities at these locations (scroll to the bottom half).

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The storm is on top of me. What do I do?

The LAFD warns that "when thunder roars, go indoors!" Also, avoid open areas and tall trees. In fact, LAFD encourages people to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary outdoor travel. As you hunker down, may we suggest you pop in an LAist podcast about K-pop coming out this Thursday?

If you’ve battened down the hatches for the evening, and your favorite LAist podcast has turned off along with the lights, follow these instructions to report the problem and restore service.

Do not walk through flowing water. Currents as small as six inches can knock you down. Areas such as arroyos, storm drains, canyons and other low-lying areas can quickly fill with water. LAFD also reminds people that it is illegal to be in a flood control channel.

If you become stranded in your car by moving water, stay in your vehicle and move to the hood or roof if the water rises. Do not attempt to rescue someone else stranded, but call 911.

What questions do you have about Southern California?

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