Our usually blue horizons have been overpowered with rain clouds lately, reminding us that rainy season is here. Although rain brings a multitude of benefits, including watering our open spaces, too much of it can be destructive.
Unfortunately, we witnessed the damaging effects just a few days ago when Santa Clarita was hit with precipitation levels that forced evacuations, caused flooding and mudflows. Fast-moving debris and mudflow is dangerous, especially for residents living near recent fire burn areas. There are steps we can take to prepare for potential flood and debris dangers, and by being prepared, we can lessen the loss of property and life.
Here at the city, we are proactive in maintaining city property and facilities to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, homes and businesses. Trees and landscaping are continually inspected and treated or removed if deemed unsafe. Open space and trails are checked to identify areas where damage may occur. 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 prepare for storms.
During the rain, city staff works to clear debris from streets continuously throughout the day. Staff also monitors “hot spots” within the city that are identified as areas prone to flooding. If a trail is flooded, staff immediately closes access to the trail and posts flood warning signs to notify residents.
City communicates these important details and updates through various communication channels, including social media (facebook.com/cityofsantaclarita), and in the case of an emergency or disaster, their Emergency Updates Blog at SantaClaritaEmergency.com. The emergency blog provides updates regarding road closures, evacuation shelters and resources in times of emergency. 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 does a lot to prepare and respond to heavy rains, but there’s a lot you can do at home too.
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. And please, during the rain do not walk or try to drive through a flooded area. 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.
I strongly encourage residents living near the recent fire burn areas to visit this website for special tips on how 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. The website offers a map on where to obtain free sand bags and provides important evacuation information.
Sometimes the effects of rain can be dangerous, but by being prepared we can better appreciate the beauty and benefits that come with the rain. The rainy season isn’t over yet, so be sure to visit santa-clarita.com/ReadyforRain and SantaClaritaEmergency.com for tips on how to prepare for rain and what to do during and after a storm. Let’s all stay alert and safe so we can enjoy the natural beauty around us.
Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.