Winter Storm Warning and Great Safety Tips from the American Red Cross

The following is from the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region Communications Department.

Here is the latest update on the Red Cross’ response to this week’s storm activity:

The first of two storms is steadily pressing into our area, bringing moderate rainfall across Southern California today. A more powerful storm is expected to arrive late tonight into Friday morning with the potential to deliver heavy rain and thunderstorms. The strong system may dump as much as 3 inches of rain in the Los Angeles Metro area and between 3 and 6 inches in the valleys and Inland Empire. In the local mountains, the storm is expected to bring between 1 and 2 feet of snow, and potentially as much as 3 feet in the highest elevations. With these heavy rains many recently burned areas are threatened with flooding or mudslides.

Voluntary evacuations are already in effect in Azusa and Glendora and mandatory evacuations will be ordered in Glendora at 12:00pm today. In response, there are relief supplies and dozens of volunteers on stand-by including shelter staffing, EOC leadership, ERV Teams, Government Liaisons and Public Affairs.

Currently an evacuation center is open in Glendora (Crowther Center at 241 W. Dawson Avenue) and is being managed by their Community Services Department. Red Cross is on stand-by to assist when requested.

Here are some safety steps people should follow if the storm threatens their community:

DRIVING SAFETY TIPS

  • Make sure to check your car tires and wipers to see if they are functioning safely.
  • Have extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.
  • Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
  • Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling and pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on wet roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.

FLOODING SAFETY

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

LANDSLIDES

  • If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your public works, fire or police department.
  • Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
  • If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
  • Be especially alert when driving— watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow.
  • If you are ordered or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you.
  • Consider a precautionary evacuation of large or numerous animals as soon as you are aware of impending danger.

DURING SEVERE STORMS

  • Stay alert and awake. Many deaths from landslides occur while people are sleeping.
  • Listen to local news stations on a battery-powered radio for warnings of heavy rainfall.
  • Consider leaving if it is safe to do so.

For the latest updates on the storm, visit redcrossla.org, or follow them on Twitter @redcrossla or www.facebook.com/redcrossla.

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