After Thursday night’s storm and subsequent flooding, the city of Palmdale is providing the following tips and information on how to stay safe during severe weather. This information is provided courtesy of the Los Angeles County’s Emergency Survival Guide.
Before a Flood
- Assess the safety of your house and belongings in case of a ﬂood or mudslide. Are you near a creek? Do you live above or below a steep hillside? Do you have to drive over a creek or bridge to get to a main road?
- Clean drains and gutters around the house in the fall before the winter rains come.
- If diversion of water or mud is necessary, plan to ﬁll sandbags well before the rain starts; sandbags are available at your local ﬁre stations. Take time now to ﬁnd out what ﬁre station serves your area and learn proper placement of sandbags. Sand bags are also available at the city of Palmdale’s maintenance yard, located at 39110 3rd Street East [across from Desert Sands Park].
- If you live in a hilly area, maintain all slopes in a safe manner. Use appropriate plantings, slope coverage and drainage channels.
When it’s raining
- Plan to arrive at your location before it starts raining and remain there until well after the storm. Burned logs, boulders, mud and other debris can create temporary dams which burst days after the rain has stopped. This could be hours or sometimes even days after the rain has stopped.
- Be particularly alert when driving. Watch the road for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other hazards. Bridges may be washed out, and culverts overtopped. When you see water across a roadway, there is no way to see whether the road under the water has been washed away. The water may be much more deep and powerful than you expect.
During a flood
- Do not cross rapidly ﬂowing streams. Stay on one side until the water recedes. Most streams will go down in a couple of hours, once it stops raining.
- Check drainage systems at your home and driveways to maintain a safe situation and limit damage. Watch for mudslides and adjust drainage to reduce mudslides. If you notice a major mud slippage, either above or below your house, move your family to a safe location. If you need emergency assistance, call 9-1-1.
After a flood
- Do not return to your ﬂood-damaged home before the area is declared to be safe by law enforcement and health ofﬁcials.
- Assess damage; check hillsides, houses, etc. for slope movement, settling and water damage.
- Drive slowly and carefully, as many roads may have mud, debris, holes and washed-out areas. This is particularly true when driving where public works and other public safety personnel are doing cleanup efforts.
- Many mudslides occur as the soil dries after an extended wet period, so a mudslide may take place several days after the rain stops.
- Have a plan in place before an evacuation is ordered. The safest plan is to stay with friends or family during all rainstorms in which a ﬂash ﬂood watch or warning has been declared for your area.
- Teach your children to stay away from all rivers, creeks, arroyos, drainage control channels and washes.
- Teach all family members about the watch and warning system.
- Determine in advance how you will stay informed about the latest ﬂood and ﬂash warnings and weather advisories.
- Talk to your neighbors about their plans, and encourage them to plan to get out early.
- Pay attention to local news and social media from local government and public safety agencies for information on what to do during an emergency incident.
[Information via news release from the city of Palmdale.]
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