Storm watch: Santa Clarita braces for tropical storm 

Screenshot of Hurricane Hillary provided by the National Weather Service.
Screenshot of Hurricane Hillary provided by the National Weather Service.

By Rylee Holwager and Trevor Morgan

The National Weather Service is urging residents of the Santa Clarita Valley to use today, Saturday, to prepare for what is expected to be tropical storm conditions — the first inklings of which will be experienced Saturday night.  

Thunderstorms and heavy winds were reported in the Antelope Valley and Inland empire on Saturday afternoon with heavy clouds being spotted, accompanied by increasing wind, in the SCV.  

Hurricane Hilary has been downgraded to category three and will most likely be downgraded to a tropical storm once it reaches Los Angeles County. However, the storm has increased in speed and its trajectory has been slightly altered — the apex of the storm will pass over the SCV sometime on Sunday but rain, wind, lightning and thunder will begin earlier as the exterior “arms” pass over the area.  

Due to the storm’s increase in speed, the flood watch was pushed up to 10 a.m. on Sunday and now has an earlier endtime — Monday at 10 a.m. 

Ariel Cohen, meteorologist in charge for the NWS’ Oxnard station, urged residents to subside any apathy and prepare as much as possible. The SCV is going to be susceptible to damaging winds and flooding rains.   

“This is the time now if people want to be prepared and be ready and, if they don’t want this to be a surprise, to take those preparedness actions to be ready,” said Cohen. “Getting an emergency supply kit ready, making sure that any outdoor objects are brought inside, staying away from any flooded roadways, all of those things that we can do to stay safe makes a difference and in some cases between life and death. Everyone needs to be thinking about what to do when potentially dangerous weather strikes.” 

Winds are expected to reach up to 45 mph and rain is expected to come down at a rate between a half-inch to 1.5 inches per hour, according to multiple sources.  

On Friday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna held a press conference to discuss storm preparedness and safety precautions regarding the storm.  

“The (LASD) has been involved in conducting planning meetings with the (L.A.) County Office of Emergency Management and other county departments … to coordinate efforts by LASD and all other county resources to guarantee a smooth and quick response during this storm,” said Luna.  

Screenshot of the projected trajectory of Hurricane Hillary from the National Weather Service.
Screenshot of the projected trajectory of Hurricane Hillary from the National Weather Service.

City prepares for storm 

The city of Santa Clarita said it’s also preparing resources to respond to the storm as it happens. The Public Works Department will be handling road closures and debris on the roadways. Stormwater crews have already begun to inspect storm drains to make sure they are clear in an effort to prevent flooding. The city of Santa Clarita has taken to social media as a way to keep the city’s residents readily informed.  

In an Instagram post on Friday, the city emphsized that it is best to be proactive and prepared for Hurricane Hilary.  

The following were some precautions advised by the city for residents to take: Double check emergency kits, secure one’s property, prepare property as needed and ensure essentials are in possession such as water, food, medicine and batteries.  

The city assured that staff will be on standby throughout the days that the storm is expected to hit. Their efforts will go toward ensuring storm drains are cleared, addressing storm-related impacts and ensuring residents’ safety. 

Sandbags and sand will be available for residents to use from the Los Angeles County fire stations in Santa Clarita. The following fire stations are open for sandbag and sand distribution:  

Residents in low-lying areas and places susceptible to water intrusion are urged to take advantage of this distribution.  

L.A. County Fire Department’s Search and Rescue teams are also on standby in the event they are needed locally.  

Preparing the homeless population  

Chris Najarro, executive director of Bridge to Home, said that in extreme weather conditions, Bridge to Home ensures that extra beds are available for those seeking shelter. Hurricane Hilary will be no different.  

Najarro said that outreach workers regularly go into the Santa Clara River, which runs from east to west through the SCV, but during extreme weather conditions, they will inform the homeless population of the circumstances for possible relocation and the resources they can take advantage of. Najarro said that at the end of the day it is, “up to them.”  

Carrie Lujan, communications manager for the city of Santa Clarita, said that SCV Sheriff’s Station personnel had gone into the river and creek beds to check if there were homeless individuals on Friday. Code enforcement officials were also sent out to make sure homeless people they came into contact with were warned of the storm and to provide the locations of places they can relocate to.  

“As far as emergency messaging we want to remind people not to drive through flooded roadways, especially in the Arizona crossings. Take it slow in the rain,” said Lujan. “Use today to prepare so if you need to restock your emergency supply kit, make sure you have extra medication on hand.” 

The SCV Sheriff’s Station issued the following recommendations on Saturday: 

“Please take time now to prepare for potential flooding, high winds and flash flooding in high-risk areas,” read the alert.  

Ahead of the storm:  

  • Sign up for CodeRED alerts from local, state, and federal agencies (Alert LA County). Sign up, get notified, and stay safe. 
  • Check your vehicles for working headlights, taillights and windshield wipers; make sure your tires have proper tread. 
  • If you live in an area prone to flooding, be prepared to take action should flooding develop. Free sandbags can be located at fire stations with sandbags. 

Visit the Ready LA County website and download the Emergency Survival Guide (see pages 66-69).  


  • Plan to stay home and wait out the storm. If you must drive, drive slowly, safely, and be aware of your surroundings.  
  • If you receive a CodeRED email or text message, read the entire notification carefully and follow all instructions. 
  • Watch for mudslides and adjust drainage to reduce mudslides. Do not cross rapidly flowing streams.  
  • If you notice significant mud slippage above or below your house, move your family to a safe location, notify your neighbors, and call the Department of Public Works at 1-800-675-HELP (4357). 
  • Deputies will remain on patrol to assist citizens and other emergency response agencies as needed. 


  • Check on your neighbors, family members and pets. 
  • Inspect your property for downed wires, fallen trees and any other hazards that may have formed during the storm.  
  • Check with the county Department of Public Works to find out what roads are damaged (if any) at

Visit to stay informed and find additional information and resources before, during and after the storm.  

Residents react 

Many residents in L.A. County has been heading to local stores and buying water, emergency preparedness supplies and non-perishable food. Some SCV residents have been doing the same, but many remain either apathetic or unconcerned about the impending storm.  

Local resident Juan Varela, who was stocking up on water at the Walmart Supercenter on Kelly Johnson Parkway, said he was concerned and was doing everything he could to prepare.  

“I guess we’ve never been through one, so we don’t know what’s gonna be like,” said Varela. “I think I’m gonna get some of those dry soups, you know, water, too, and definitely get propane.” 

Varela added that he was trying to be “low-key” about his buying because did not observe many other people he knew getting ready.  

Caroll Barstow, also an SCV resident, said she wasn’t worried about it all and that she was just doing her regular grocery shopping on Saturday.  

“It’s just media hype. We get rain all the time. Well, we don’t get rain all the time, but when we had that surge before so, no, not worried at all,” said Barstow. “It could be a little bit bad, but we’ve had trees come down before I’ve had my umbrellas in my pool. I think it’s overhyped, but I don’t blame them for being a little cautious.” 

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS