LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles residents were asked to remain indoors Sunday as rain falls ahead of Tropical Storm Hilary making landfall in Southern California, with heavy downpours and flooding expected toward the middle of the day.
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As the storm approaches, officials are advising everyone to take the necessary precautions and steps to prepare.
Check the flood risk where you live
Is your home in a flood zone?
Flood zones are areas more at risk for potential flooding during heavy rains.
There are resources available online from two government agencies — the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services - where you can simply type in your address to determine what the risk is where you live. Check out the links below:
Prepare your home for flooding
- Sweep and pick up trash, leaves, grass clippings and other debris that collect around storm drains and curb gutters near your home.
- Proactively turn off irrigation to save water and minimize runoff.
- Inspect your property for loose tree branches or trees that could be vulnerable to high winds and rain.
- Place sandbags to divert water and mud away from your home.>> Tap or click here to see where you can get free sandbags near you <<
- Secure outdoor furniture and other items that could be vulnerable to move in high winds and rain.
Have an emergency kit
Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
Flood Advisory vs. Flood Watch
What is the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service?
Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
Flood Advisory: Be Aware: An Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.
Flood Watch: Be Prepared: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.
Staying safe during a flood
During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware.
Avoid floodwaters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don't wait until it's too late!
- Stay Informed: Listen to radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio if possible, check the Internet and social media for information and updates.
- Get to Higher Ground: If you live in a flood prone area or are camping in a low-lying area, get to higher ground immediately.
- Obey Evacuation Orders: If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.
- Practice Electrical Safety: Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises--get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
- Avoid Flood Waters: Don't walk through floodwaters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 if possible. Do NOT drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don't Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc. A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in seconds 12 inches of water can float a car or small SUV, 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.
Staying safe during high winds
- Immediately go inside a sturdy building during a high wind warning or severe thunderstorm warning and move to an interior room or basement.
- If you are in a mobile home, move to a sturdy building before the winds pick up or the storm system reaches your location.
- Listen to the local news or NOAA Weather Radio for updates.
If caught outside or driving
- Take shelter in your car if you are not near a sturdy building. If possible, drive to a nearby sturdy building. Otherwise, move your car to a location where it is less likely to be hit by falling trees or power lines.
- If no shelter is available avoid trees, power lines, and the side of the road. Keep in mind that power lines that are laying on the ground may be live. Do not go near them! Try to find a place that will block blowing or falling debris.
- If you are driving and aren't near a sturdy building, hold the steering wheel with both hands and slow down.
- Keep a distance from high profile vehicles such as trucks, buses and vehicles towing trailers. One strong gust of wind can be enough to flip one of these trailers onto its side.
Have an emergency plan
Sign up for emergency alerts
Residents are encouraged to stay in the loop about warnings and alerts by signing up with a local emergency notification system.