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El Niño-Related Storms Could Flood L.A. River This Week, Mayor Warns

Waiting for a set (Photo by Anthony Samaniego via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Storms predicted for this week could cause dangerous flooding and enough rain to nearly top the L.A. River. In anticipation of heavy rains this week from El Niño-related storms, Mayor Eric Garcetti warned Angelenos to prepare for flooding conditions, reports CBS LA. Heavy rains are expected to bring as much as three inches of rain this week, which could dramatically raise the water level of the river, which was engineered to help control flooding in the region.

"Come Tuesday, this is going to be a tremendous storm, and we're going to the see the Los Angeles River almost go up to the top later in the week," Garcetti told KNX 1070 Newsradio.

Officials are particularly worried about homeless encampments along the river, where residents could be at risk of drowning during flooding. Signs have been posted warning people to stay out of flood channels around L.A. County and a task force has been assigned to address the risks posed to those who are particularly vulnerable, according to the L.A. Times. Authorities plan to encourage people to find a safer place to reside, and if those attempts fail, to forcibly remove people if flooding is imminent and their lives are in danger. In September of last year, authorities rescued three people and a dog from the swiftly moving water of a flooded L.A. River.

The Mayor also encouraged residents to consider not putting their trash out on particularly rainy days as debris blocking storm drains can cause flooding. "One thing people should know is if it's an especially rainy day, if you see water coming down the street, don't put your trash out," he said. "One overturned trash container can stop up the entire storm drain on your street and flood your entire street."

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The city of Los Angeles has also launched a new website that allows residents to track the storms and learn more about the potential threat of El Niño.