As El Niño brings heavy rains and severe weather, residents are encouraged to take precautions and prepare for weather conditions.  After four years of drought and wildfires, LA’s landscape is incapable of absorbing large amounts of rain. There is a high potential for flooding and mudslides in vulnerable areas especially those impacted by fire or not covered with foliage.

While thunderstorms and heavy downfalls are expected to continue into this weekend, the City of Los Angeles has launched a new website, www.ElNiñ, which provides information and tools on how to prepare your home for additional rain, recommends the preparation of emergency kits, and how to create an evacuation plan and lists supplies.

You can also stay ahead of severe weather conditions by signing up for NotifyLA, a regional alert system that sends emergency alerts through SMS text, voice message and email. The LAPD non-emergency information line is (877) 275-5273. For all life-threatening emergencies, call 9-1-1 immediately.

The office of City Councilmember Paul Krekorian issued a list of recommendations to encourage residents to prevent flooding that include looking around your home, checking  that all drains, gutters and downspouts are clean and functioning properly.

This is especially important for flat-roofed buildings. Keep pipes, troughs and culverts free of debris. Closely examine windows, skylights and doors that may benefit from caulking or weatherstripping. Inspect your attic for “leaks” of sunlight, or signs of previous water damage that may indicate where repairs are needed. Make sure you have household supplies, like a bucket, mop, towel and tarpaulin to minimize damage from a sudden leak or stormwater seepage and stock up on sandbags.

The Los Angeles Fire Department and Bureau of Street Services are making ready-to-fill sandbags available at locations citywide. Contact your neighborhood fire station or Bureau of Street Services for a sandbag location.

Call 3-1-1 or use the MyLA311 app to report any street damage caused by severe weather. To report a fallen tree, call the Bureau of Street Services at (800) 996-2489.  Most importantly, stay away from power lines, dangling wire or anyone or anything in contact with a downed line and always assume a downed line is still energized.

If you experience a power outage, or see a downed power line or electrical wire, immediately call the L.A. Dept. of Water and Power at (800) 342-5397.  To report a blocked storm drain or catch basin, call the Bureau of Sanitation at (800) 773-2489. The Customer Care Center will remain open 24/7 to receive customer requests. Winter Shelters are currently open and will remain open through March 31.