Southern California is getting its first major storm since November, including heavy rainfall, high elevation snow, scattered thunderstorms, gusty winds, and flooding in some areas. As the storm moves through the southern part of the state, the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) wants all residents to be prepared.
Meteorologists from the National Weather Service in San Diego are forecasting rain to continue today into Friday morning. Rainfall totals could reach 1 to 2 inches along the coast in Orange and San Diego counties, .5 to 1.5 inches in the Inland Empire, and .5 to 1 inch in the deserts.
Strong winds and heavy rainfall, as well as higher terrain snowfall at 6,500 to 8,000 feet, are expected in some areas.
The storm hit hardest overnight in Ventura County, bringing more than 2.5 inches of rain within a 1-hour timeframe. Flash flooding occurred on multiple roadways in Oxnard and Port Hueneme.
Flood Watches are in effect for high risk of significant flooding, with the greatest flood potential in southern Santa Barbara County and Ventura County, according to the National Weather Service in Los Angeles. Flooding occurs after heavy consistent rainstorms; even moderate amounts of rain can cause flash floods and general flooding.
There is currently one emergency shelter open in Ventura County.
An evacuation order has been issued for the Hueneme Bay community of Port Hueneme, east of Patterson, north of Channel Islands Blvd, south of Bolker Way, west of Triton Street. Evacuation warnings remain in effect for Foster Park & Camp Chaffee areas. The warnings started on December 20 and are anticipated to remain in place through Friday, unless circumstances change. An advisory remains in effect for residents of Matilija Canyon, North Fork, Creek Road and Old Creek Road, due to the possibility of flooding during periods of high-intensity rainfall.
It’s crucial for all Californians to understand the difference between evacuation warnings or orders and follow public safety guidance.
Storm season can bring unpredictable and severe weather conditions, so stay informed, have an emergency plan in place and follow the guidance of local authorities to navigate the challenges that may arise during these weather events. Proactive efforts now can make a significant difference when it comes to dealing with winter storm related rains and potential flooding.
Emergency alerts from county or local officials can notify you quickly about life-saving information. Signing up for these free alerts will notify the community about potential disasters, dangers and emergencies and what to do to stay safe. Find local emergency alerts in your community HERE.
Sign up for Santa Barbara County emergency alerts at https://www.readysbc.org/. Sign up for Ventura County alerts at https://www.readyventuracounty.org/vc-alert/ and visit https://www.vcemergency.com/ for most up to date incident information.
Stay updated with the latest weather forecasts and storm predictions provided by reliable sources such as the National Weather Service, your local news, local or state emergency services and local authorities. Monitoring these sources will help you understand the potential risks and timing of storm related rainfall in your area. Listen to local authorities when told to evacuate.
Severe weather conditions can create power outages. Sign up for local alerts with your utility company to stay informed about possible power outages and public safety power shutoffs in your area.
NEVER DRIVE IN FLOODED AREAS AND AVOID UNNECESSARY TRAVEL:
Never attempt to drive, walk or swim through flooded areas. A mere six inches of fast-moving water can knock an adult over and 12 inches of rushing water can carry away most cars. It’s recommended that when you see flooding to turn around, don’t drown. Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards like downed powerlines, trees and more.
During heavy sustained precipitation, it’s best to limit unnecessary travel. If travel becomes necessary, check for any road closures, adjust your travel route according to road conditions. This is especially important as normal travel routes may be flooded or closed due to dangerous conditions. Keeping your vehicle maintained can also lower any potential risks while traveling. To continue to lower potential risks, increase the distance between cars while driving, keep your eyes on the road at all times, slow down and look out for any standing water. Finally, just like traditional vehicles, there is risk when driving an electric vehicle during any potential storm season. Keep the electric vehicle charged and avoid any flooding or standing water.
PROTECT YOUR PETS:
As heavy rainfall continues, make sure to keep your pets close and have pet carriers, food, water and medications ready for their needs in the event local authorities request evacuation. Identify pet-friendly shelters in your area.
Head to the National Weather Service for current weather patterns in your area.