Southern California was on high alert Sunday, with the National Weather Service issuing a flood watch and wind advisory ahead of a major storm forecast to sweep across the region through Tuesday afternoon.
The high-profile weather event is expected to bring heavy rainfall and gusty winds to local areas including coastal and inland areas of Orange County, along with the San Bernardino and Riverside County Valleys, the Inland Empire and various mountain regions.
On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The proclamation enables potential California National Guard deployment, streamlines unemployment benefits for those impacted, and simplifies the process for out-of-state contractors and utilities to assist in repairing storm damage.
Flood watch in effect
The slow-moving storm system, fueled by a long-duration atmospheric river, is expected to deliver significant rainfall that could potentially overflow rivers, creeks and streams. Urban and poorly drained areas are also considered at-risk zones for flooding.
The flood watch covers a broad swath of Southern California, encompassing cities from Moreno Valley and Palm Springs to Irvine and Santa Ana — and especially areas that fall below snow levels.
Wind advisory issued
A wind advisory has also been issued for Orange County’s coastal and inland areas. Southeast winds are expected to range from 15 to 25 mph, with gusts reaching up to 45 mph. The NWS warns that high winds can cause unsecured objects to be blown around, in addition to dislodging tree limbs and palm fronds.
In light of these advisories, the NWS urges residents to keep up to date on the latest forecasts and to be ready to act if they encounter flooding. Officials also recommend securing outdoor objects, like patio furniture, and those living in flood-prone areas should be especially vigilant.
Navigating the storm
As with any storm, be sure to practice extra caution when driving, and it’s a good idea to park away from trees that might cause damage. Now’s also a good time to make sure your family has an emergency kit stocked with essentials like flashlights, batteries, water and non-perishable food.