Storm Season Safety: Coastal Flooding in Southern California


Storms coming from the northern part of the state are predicted to bring moderate to major coastal flooding through Saturday in Southern California.

Coastal flooding and high surf have already impacted parts of the state, prompting evacuation warnings. High tides have also caused minor flooding in low-lying areas, leading to several closures.

As Californians watch for flooding in their area, the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) wants to remind everyone to assess their flood risk, prepare and practice response plans, and learn from past floods. Remember, do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. If you encounter floodwaters, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!

Coastal Flooding

Potentially damaging coastal flooding along Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties is expected during the current weather event, with moderate coastal flooding along Los Angeles county.

Coasting flooding occurs when the tide is higher and stronger than normal and can become worse as heavy rainfall and onshore wind continue.

Media outlets are also reporting large waves along the Southern California coast as the king tides approach. According to the National Ocean Service, a king tide is a non-scientific term people often use to describe exceptionally high tides. Officials are warning that massive surf can bring dangerous swimming conditions and rip currents that have the potential to pull people out to sea.


Floods happen, and according to the California Department of Water Resources, every county in our state has experienced a federally declared flood disaster area at least once within the last 20 years. Floodwaters can carry fast-moving debris, harmful contaminants and hazards. Failing to evacuate flooded areas or entering flood waters can be deadly.

Before a Flood

  • Keep storm pipes and drains clear.
  • Move valuable items to higher floors of your home.
  • Get plastic tarps and sandbags to keep out water.
  • Learn the best escape routes.

During a Flood

  • Don’t wait and see; leave immediately.
  • Never walk or drive through flood waters.
  • Watch for mudslides and debris flows.

Additionally, follow these three safety steps to ensure you’re safe from any disaster:

  • BE AWAREof your risk: Know whether your home is in a flood zone; pay attention to weather forecasts; and listen to local authorities.
  • BE PREPARED: Always have an emergency evacuation kit ready; be prepared to evacuate early; have a household inventory with copies of critical documents with you or on the cloud; and have a plan for where you will go in an emergency and what to do with your pets.
  • TAKE ACTION: Evacuate immediately when advised. Also, homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage due to flooding; consider purchasing flood insurance.