Staying Safe in LA County During a Flooding Event
Flooding is a common hazard in certain parts of LA County, including in the Third District. Flooding occurs when water temporarily overflows on land that is normally dry. Floods can cause significant property damage and personal injury, they can also contaminate drinking water and disrupt electrical services.
Some floods develop slowly, but flash floods also pose a dangerous threat. Flash floods can develop within minutes without visible signs of rain and can carry rocks, mud, debris, and sweep away things in its path.
During rain season, mudslides can also occur. Mudslides develop when water accumulates in the ground, oversaturating rock, debris, and earth, causing natural material to slide down from typically steep slopes. Mudslides are much more dangerous than floods as they can exceed speeds of 10mph and cause significant damage.
Flood awareness and preparation is a must for all, but most of all for those living in low lying areas near water or near a recently-burned hillside.
Ways to prepare for flooding:
- Know the flood risk in your area by visiting FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center or the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services My Hazards Site.
- Stay up-to-date on flood related information through the LA County Department of Public Works.
- Monitor the weather for forecasted heavy rainfall.
- Develop a family emergency plan that includes evacuation routes, the location of utility shut-offs and how to reconnect with family members if separated.
- Create a disaster supply kit.
- Avoid playing in or near rivers or areas of potential flooding, especially encouraging children and teenagers to do so.
- Store sandbags, plywood, lumber, and plastic sheeting in a safe location to protect your home if necessary. For information on where to get sandbags, see this map.
- Keep important documents in waterproof or sealed bags and create digital copies.
- Protect your property year round to avoid overgrowth in storm drains or gutters and notify your local Public Works department about debris or overgrowth in public drainage facilities.
Ways to protect yourself during a flood:
- Avoid moving water and risky areas subject to sudden flooding such as streams, rivers, and flood control channels. Even 6 inches of water can cause injury.
- Stay informed by listening to the radio or watching television to get information from local officials and look out for notices from your emergency management notification system.
- Follow evacuation instructions if told to do so.
- Drive safely.
- Move to higher ground.
For additional tips and resources on how to prepare for a flood, visit ready.lacounty.gov. Please visit alert.lacounty.gov to register for emergency alerts. For a list of locations offering sandbags throughout Los Angeles County, see this resource.