Living in Southern California, rain is not a common occurrence, we live in a desert; however living in this climate we are prone to periods of drought as well as periodic intense storms. In addition we have weather patterns such as El Nino and La Nina.
· The first thing to prepare for all emergencies is to have a plan, what will you do? And have a disaster preparedness kit.
· Make sure all drains and gutters are cleared of debris and functioning properly before the storm season. If buildings do not have gutters and drains, consider having them installed. Storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces (e.g., roofs, driveways, and patios) should be directed into a collection system to avoid soil saturation.
· Inspect your roof, or hire a roofing contractor, to check for loose tiles, holes, or other signs of trouble.
· Visually inspect all retaining wall drains, surface drains, culverts, ditches, etc. for obstructions or other signs of malfunction, before the storm season, and after every storm event.
· Visually inspect all sloped areas for signs of gullying, surface cracks, slumping etc. Also inspect patios, retaining walls, garden walls, etc. for signs of cracking or rotation. Such signs might be indications of slope movement and if you notice any problems, it would be prudent to have the site inspected by a geotechnical engineer.
· Make sure your yard does not have large bare areas which could be sources for mudflows during a storm event. The fall is a good time to put down mulch and establish many native plants; it may be possible to vegetate these bare areas before the storm season.
· Inspect nearby storm drains before storms and after every rain; if the storm drains are obstructed, the Department of Public Works (818-238-3800).
· If you live in an area prone to flooding or in the foothill areas, place sandbags before a storm begins (placing sandbags takes longer than you may think). Place sandbags to direct flowing water away from your property and away from doors. (Where to get sandbags)
During a storm, large amounts of rain can fail in short periods of time, when this happens, flooding can occur. It only takes 6 inches of flowing water to knock you off your feet, do not try to wade through flowing water. Do not drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don't Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide many hazards (i.e. sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc). A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in a matter of seconds. Twelve inches of water can float a car or small SUV and 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.