Cameron Smyth: Rain is coming; are you ready?

Cameron Smyth

Last month brought a barrage of dangerous fires that scorched California, fueled by high winds. Here in Santa Clarita, the Tick Fire burned on the eastern edge of the city, destroying homes and torching more than 4,000 acres. Thanks to the brave men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Fire departments for spending days on the front lines to protect life and property. 

In drought-prone California, the threat of natural disasters does not stop when the last flame is extinguished. The chances of destructive mudslides and floods are much greater after a fire. We know that rain is coming, but are you ready for it?

In the coming months, our valley will experience rainfall, potentially causing hazardous road conditions. Mudslides and floods can be a very destructive event that blanket roadways in mud and debris, but being prepared will ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

City staff is already working on preventative measures. Whether it’s conducting city facility inspections, removing problematic trees or clearing debris on the streets, the city is hard at work preparing for rainfall. In addition, street sweeping is conducted weekly in the fall and winter to ensure minimal impact to one of Santa Clarita’s most vital tools: the storm drain system.

Parts of the city’s storm drain system appear throughout the city, in the form of holes in curbs and parking lots that support flood control. These openings transfer stormwater from streets, sidewalks and driveways through piping that’s transferred to the Santa Clara River. In addition to recharging nearly half of the city’s water supply, the Santa Clara River serves as a critical habitat for many endangered species. 

Residents can also contribute to the effectiveness of the storm drain system by removing any litter that could potentially cause street flooding and by reducing the use of lawn chemicals that can mix with rainfall, eventually polluting the Santa Clara River and the city’s water supply.

In addition, residents can also take steps to make sure their home is rain-ready. Remember to clear out all drains and rain gutters in addition to checking your roof for any holes or loose tiles. If you have a rain barrel, check to make sure the downspouts are clear of debris.

During rainfall, be sure NOT to drive through flooded areas. Just a few inches of water can sweep you or your vehicle away in an instant. Downed power lines and electrical wires are also a huge safety risk. If you see a downed line, do not touch it, please dial 9-1-1 immediately.

While we continue to prepare for natural disasters, it’s important that residents also plan and prepare for emergencies. Visit the city’s Emergency Page at to sign up for emergency alerts or text SCEmergency to 888777.

You can learn more safety tips and find out what you can do before, during and after heavy rain by visiting the Ready for Rain website at

Cameron Smyth is mayor pro tem of the city of Santa Clarita.

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