The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm watch for the Santa Clarita Valley on Friday — with locations affected including Castaic Lake, Castaic, Newhall and Valencia.
Meteorologists with the NWS’ Oxnard Station, which provides forecasts and monitoring for the SCV, said that overnight, between Thursday and Friday, they became confident that tropical storm-level winds and rain will hit the area.
“Be prepared for possible landslides, mudslides, debris flows and really, if there are any tall objects at all, (especially) trees, they could come down as well,” said Ariel Cohen, head meteorologist of the NWS’ Oxnard station. “Just do what it takes to prepare in advance of these conditions.”
Cohen added that rain and wind will most likely arrive on Saturday, with the apex of the storm being on Sunday evening through Monday — with a possibility it will continue until Tuesday.
Winds are expected to produce gusts of up to 45 mph with rain coming down at
approximately a half-inch to 1 inch per hour for “a long duration” of time. Lightning and thunder are also predicted.
“The watch does not include the city of Los Angeles at this time, but the areas over the mountains as well as the waters and Catalina Island are going to be the focus area for the most significant weather conditions ahead,” said Cohen.
The tropical storm watch was issued Friday morning and has no definitive end. A Flood Watch will go into effect on Sunday afternoon and last until Monday evening.
The SCV is particularly prone to flash floods. Residents, particularly in the hills and mountains, are being asked to take heed of local conditions throughout the storm and to be prepared for a flood ahead of it. Evacuations in some areas may be necessary.
Small streams, creeks, canals, arroyos and ditches may become dangerous rivers. Destructive runoff may rage down mountain valleys while increasing susceptibility to rockslides, mudslides, and debris flows.
Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed. Streets and parking lots can become rivers of moving water with underpasses submerged. Driving conditions may become dangerous. Many road and bridge closures can happen with some being weakened or washed out.
Hillary became a Category 4 hurricane in just 24 hours — originating as a tropical storm. The hurricane came with gusts up to 145 mph as it approached Baja California — where it’s anticipated to hit Saturday.
The hurricane is expected to return to tropical storm status as it approaches the state of California, but meteorologists say this should not lessen its concern for residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.
The following are guidelines on how to prepare for a flood from the NWS:
Safeguard your possessions: Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. The file should contain a copy of your insurance policies, a household inventory, copies of all other critical documents including finance records and receipts of major purchases.
Prepare your house: If your property has a sump pump, make sure it is working and install a battery-operated backup, in case of power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is backed up. Clear debris from gutters and downspouts. Anchor any fuel tanks. Raise your electrical components at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation. Move furniture, valuables and important documents to a safe place.
Develop a family emergency plan: Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio and a flashlight. Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 9-1-1. Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work and school that are on higher ground. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency contact. Have a plan to protect your pets.
For more information on how to prepare for a flood, visit tinyurl.com/5xntw6k4.