Be prepared: Monster storm could be biggest of season for L.A. area


L.A. is bracing for what could be the biggest storm of the season as large swaths of California continue having one their wettest winters on record.

What forecasters say could be the biggest storm of an already wet season is expected to barrel into Southern California tonight, bringing sustained rains Friday and into Saturday.

The storm will have several elements that officials warn could cause damage: high surf, powerful wind and downpours that could drop a total of more than 4 inches of rain on downtown L.A.


Rain begins on the Central Coast this afternoon, moving into Southern California tonight. A more powerful storm comes Friday, with showers continuing into Saturday.


Officials are working to clear debris basins before the storm to avoid flooding. In burn areas like Duarte, residents are on high alert. Flooding prep is underway in low-lying coastal areas like Seal Beach.


“The raw numbers don’t look that scary, but if we get the bulk of that coming over a small period, that will cause a lot of issues,” said Ryan Kittell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Much of that rain could fall within a 12-hour period Friday, and it could fall at a rate of more than an inch per hour, he said. 

There is a high likelihood, Kittell said, for a “lot of roadway flooding,” as well as falling trees because the storm also is expected to usher in powerful winds.


Rainfall totals for the Los Angeles metropolitan area are predicted to be between 2 to 4 inches, with 6 to 8 inches expected in the mountains and foothills, he said.

Surf could hit 13 feet by Saturday.

“Large waves and strong rip currents will increase the risk of oceandrowning for swimmers and surfers,” said the NWS statement. “Largebreaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches or rocks and capsize small boats near shore.”

Snow levels could fall to 6,000 feet.


Here are some basic storm tips from the Los Angeles Fire Department:

Ensure that your drains, gutters and downspouts are clean and functioning properly. This is especially important for flat-roofed buildings.

Keep stormwater troughs, pipes and culverts on your property free of debris.

Move valuable or easily damaged items away from low-lying areas prone to flooding.

Secure trash containers, household waste, chemical spills and outdoor storage before they are swept away, spread contamination or block storm drains.

Closely examine windows, skylights and doors that may benefit from caulking or weatherstripping.

Inspect your attic for "leaks" of sunlight, or signs of previous water damage that may indicate where pre-storm repairs are needed.

Establish household supplies (bucket, mop, towel and tarpaulin) to minimize damage from a sudden leak or stormwater seepage.

Prepare your household to remain safe (battery powered lamps, no candles) and functional (fully charged cellphone, manual garage door operation) in the event of a storm-related power outage.

Review how to safely turn off your home's electric, water and natural gas service in the event of severe storm damage.

Put the Flood Safety and other free mobile apps from the American Red Cross on your smartphone.

Discuss your family emergency plan, including what every member of the family will do in the event of a flood or mudslide.

Prepare an emergency supply kit that includes food, water, medications, flashlight, battery-powered radio, rain gear and first aid supplies.

Gather and safely store important documents to take with you in case of evacuation.

Confirm out-of-state family contacts so that friends and relatives can determine your location and status.

Consider the safety of those with disabilities or access and functional needs.

Plan for the needs of pets at home and if you are evacuated.

Identify multiple safe routes from your home or workplace to high ground and practice your evacuation plan.

Have sturdy, sensible shoes with nonskid soles for use in a rainstorm. Pack an umbrella, small flashlight and rain coat.

Check your car's wipers, lights, tire inflation and tread wear to assure safe operation, and keep your vehicle fueled in case power is cut off to local fueling stations.

Be prepared to monitor local news for official warnings, evacuation orders and the status of streets, highways and transit systems.

Be aware of local driving laws, and how to operate your vehicle safely or use public transit in conditions altered by weather.

Lower the level of your swimming pool to prevent overflow and flooding.

Determine if your home is located in a flood hazard or landslide prone area.

Landscape slopes with plants that are fire retardant, water wise, suitable for erosion control and allow for smart water retention or reuse. Consider the temporary use of plastic sheeting on slopes prone to erosion.

Large trees that could threaten your home should be examined by a certified arborist. Confirm that any hillside on your property has been evaluated by a licensed soil engineer.

If necessary, consult an engineer or licensed contractor to design or build permanent water and debris control systems for your property.

Contact your insurance agent to assure that your flood and storm coverage is adequate and in effect. Confirm the 24-hour contact, policy and claim filing numbers for your insurer(s). Place that information in your mobile phone and keep a printed copy in the glove box of your car.

Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, hand tools and other materials handy for addressing additional stormwater issues.