Streets flood, river flows during major storm

Dan Watson / The Signal

The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for much of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley.

Meteorologists with the NWS’s Oxnard station said the advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday but will most likely be extended, even as showers subside, due to reports of road floods.

Video by Chris Torres/The Signal

In Santa Clarita, there have been several reports of road floods including Sand Canyon Road near its intersection with Roadrunner Road — where reports of a vehicle being trapped prompted a rescue response from the L.A. County Fire Department. There were no reported injuries from the incident.

The city of Santa Clarita is asking residents to avoid the intersection, as well as any low bridge crossings over water until further notice.

Video courtesy of the city of Santa Clarita

Lake Hughes Road, which was closed on New Year’s Eve due to mudslides, is still closed as of Thursday from Dry Gulch Road to Pine Canyon Road. The county’s website for road closures,, did not have an estimated reopen date as of Thursday morning.

The rains have also caused the Santa Clara River and its forks within the valley to flow significantly, a welcome sight to some following a drought that parched the valley and drained reservoirs.

But to the homeless population that has called the local riverbeds and washes home during dry times, the river’s return means displacement.

Imari Peterson, director of program for Bridge to Home — a local nonprofit dedicated to addressing homelessness — said several agencies, including the city of Santa Clarita and the SCV Sheriff’s Station, have gone down into the riverbeds and washes prior to the storm to inform the population about the resources available to them.

“They don’t have to be enrolled into your program when rain is happening during the day, so that they can have a place to stay dry during the day. Also, there are winter shelter resources that run throughout October through to March, because we know that the winter weather can be severe — as we’re experiencing now,” said Peterson. “They have access to calling the winter shelter hotline and then they’re able to get a bed [so] they have a place to stay at night and can stay dry.”

Peterson said a lot of the outreach done before the storm was conducted by L.A. Family Housing — which works with the city of Santa Clarita to provide resources to the homeless.

It’s unknown, at the time of this publication, how many people have been displaced as a result of the river’s return or due to flooding. Peterson said a hotline (661-254-4663) has been set up to direct those experiencing or vulnerable to homelessness to find shelter, especially during the rainy season.

“We’re always an open resource for those who are experiencing homelessness in the area, especially when it comes to severe weather like this,” said Peterson. “We also have our client service center that clients can stop by, receive hygiene resources. [The center] also has a place to charge your phone and stay dry for a little bit. We would love to be able to connect people to other resources, should they need a shelter bed.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the NWS said the risk of flooding will decrease as showers subside throughout the day. However, a stronger system expected to hit next week could change things.

“We do expect a break Friday into Saturday, but we’re looking at another potentially significant storm Monday and Tuesday,” said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist at NWS’s Oxnard station. “I only see the potential growing that it can be even wetter than this one. So just kind of keep an eye on that, especially with the idea that everything’s still going to be really wet with this storm.”

In the event of a flood, FEMA advises the following:

– Find safe shelter right away.

– Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

– Remember, just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

– Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.

– Depending on the type of flooding, choose the most appropriate option for the circumstances: evacuate if told to do so, move to higher ground or a higher floor, or stay where you are.

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