The year's almost over, but after a summer that seemed to last until Halloween weekend, L.A. is getting its "first major rainstorm of the season," says the Department of Water and Power.
And like the L.A. Fire Department and other local authorities, the DWP is preparing as if the Great Flood is coming to Southern California. Maybe it is.
The urban basin could see as many as 2 inches of rain. The National Weather Service says the showers could start appearing this early morning and keep on coming through the night.
Up to 5 inches is possible in the foothills and mountains, according to the NWS. And a possible three-hour "burst" of nonstop rain could mean flash flooding for areas burned by recent brush fires, the service said.
It'll be a comparatively "warm storm" as it draws in tropical moisture from Mexico. That means a high snow level of 8,000 feet, forecasters say.
The DWP is ready for the worst:
... Power poles and lines can be knocked down by tree limbs, palm fronds or other debris and can cause power outages. This is especially true during early season storms, when dried out palm fronds and tree branches can break easily and severe power lines. LADWP crews are at the ready around-the-clock to restore power to any affected customers as quickly and safely as possible.
The LAFD says it will have extra staffing on-hand and a minimum of 500 sandbags at each neighborhood fire station. Residents can grab 25 bags per household while they last.
The department has its swift-water rescue gear and the teams who use it ready, too, said spokesman Erik Scott. That should allow first responders to get to swollen creeks and flood control channels quickly.
Westside city Councilman Mike Bonin announced this week that an agreement between the city and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) means that the Westside Winter Shelter, operated by First to Serve Inc., will have 160 beds available for homeless people from Dec. 1 through March 1.
The shelter is at the West L.A. National Guard Armory, but shuttles will pick up those in need at Market Street and Ocean Front Walk in Venice each evening between 5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., Bonin's office says.
"Especially with the rain starting ...," the councilman said, "it is important that people know the Winter Shelter is open and that a bed is waiting."
Meanwhile, the Automobile Club of Southern California reminds you to slow down behind the wheel. We're not sure what it is about driving in the rain and Angelenos, but y'all know that quick stops on wet roads can lead to total loss of control, right? Slow the f—- down, people!
Or, in the more elegant words of the AAA:
... The Automobile Club of Southern California urges Southland motorists to buckle up each time they get behind the wheel, slow down and allow extra space between vehicles while driving on wet roads and freeways.
In 2011 8,615 people were killed or injured in bad-weather accidents, says the California Highway Patrol.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Steve Mazor, the chief automotive engineer of the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center, says:
As best they can, drivers should scan the roadways, avoid road debris and look out for disabled vehicles in reduced visibility conditions. The Auto Club also recommends that motorists turn on their vehicle headlights so they can see and be seen by other drivers.
Basic. Be safe.