by City Manager Ken Striplin
It is a delicate balance. Our City and state desperately need the rain which is finally making progress toward ending the many years of drought. But the massive storms we have gotten this winter also cause dangerous conditions for those in the areas burned by last summer’s Sand Fire. Preparation and awareness are keys to making sure these conditions prevent or limit damage to property, injury or loss of life.
You’ve no doubt seen the videos of cars being swept down washes as the waterways swell with rain water mixed with mud and debris. The average car can be swept off the road in just 12 inches of moving water. When a roadway is flooded there is no way to know what is under the water as far as debris, or if the pavement has been compromised and will no longer support a vehicle.
Attempting to drive through water may also stall your engine, with the potential to cause irreparable damage if you try to restart your car. If you come upon a flooded street, take an alternate route.
The City of Santa Clarita is proactive in maintaining City trees, property and facilities to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, homes and businesses. Trees and landscaping are continually inspected, trimmed or removed if deemed unsafe. Storm drains are cleaned four times a year and constantly monitored during storms to prevent drainage backup and consequent flooding. These are just a few of the many measures the City takes to be storm-ready.
When the rain is falling, our City crews are out monitoring the “hot spots” – areas that are prone to flooding. Debris is continuously cleared from streets during the storm. Our City team is in constant communication with our partners from Los Angeles County Public Works, Fire and Sheriff’s departments to determine if and when evacuation orders need to be issued.
Information is paramount during emergency situations and the City of Santa Clarita activates SantaClaritaEmergency.com to keep our community informed. This emergency blog is a one-stop spot for critical information such as road closures, shelter locations, resources, timely updates and much more. An emergency map is also provided to make evacuation and danger areas more easily recognized.
The City also utilizes Nixle, which allows real-time emergency notifications from public safety personnel to be quickly sent to you through email or text. Sign up by completing an online form at santa-clarita.com/ealerts or by texting “SCEMERGENCY” to the number “888777.”
The City is very proactive in preparing for rains and the floods that could accompany heavy storms. Make sure your household is equally prepared. Keep emergency supplies on hand, such as a flashlight, water, food, first- aid kit and a portable radio with extra batteries. Learn how to turn off your utilities. Make sure your family is familiar with access route(s) in and out of your immediate neighborhood. If you see a downed power line, stay away and call 9-1-1 immediately.
More rain tips are available at our Ready for Rain website at santa-clarita.com/ReadyForRain. If you live near an area prone to flooding or near the recent burn areas – I strongly encourage you to visit this website to prepare for heavy rain. Burn areas are the most susceptible to water, mud and debris slides due to lack of vegetation on steep slopes.
As they say…April showers bring May flowers, so there is a good chance we will have more rain before the season ends. Make sure you are prepared and be sure to visit santa-clarita.com/ReadyforRain and SantaClaritaEmergency.com for tips on what to do before, during and after a storm.
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