Mayor Bass Announces Preparedness Measures
Urges Angelenos to Take Caution Ahead of Anticipated Storm Following Hurricane Hilary
August 17, 2023
After the National Hurricane Center issued its first ever tropical storm watch for Southern California today, Mayor Karen Bass announced preparedness measures the City is taking for heavy rain and winds, and urged Angelenos to stay vigilant and utilize city resources. Watch the press conference hosted earlier today here.
"As we head into this weekend, I urge Angelenos to continue monitoring the hurricane and be mindful of extreme weather warnings," said Mayor Karen Bass. "We know the severe impact that weather can have on our communities. I am making sure Los Angeles is prepared on behalf of our residents, including the unhoused Angelenos living on our streets, to get through this storm."
The Mayor has requested that an emergency declaration be drafted should it be needed to be signed urgently. Hurricane Hilary is currently off the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico, classified as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of up to 130 mph. It is traveling northwest at approximately 12 mph. A turn toward the north-northwest is expected tonight, followed by a faster motion toward the north Saturday night and Sunday. On the forecast track, the center of Hilary will move close to the west coast of the Baja California peninsula over the weekend and reach southern California by Sunday night. Hilary is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by late Sunday before it reaches Southern California. There is a consensus among all experts that regardless of the specific track the storm ultimately takes, the effects will be widespread and will heavily impact the Los Angeles region. A historic Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for all of Los Angeles County.
Local weather updates provided by the National Weather Service can be found here.
How Angelenos Can Prepare:
• Angelenos should register for NotifyLA for local alerts regarding this storm. The Los Angeles City Emergency Management Department will post updates here. Angelenos can follow @ReadyLA on social media channels for event developments and general resources to stay informed.
• Angelenos are urged to stay away from the shoreline and beaches throughout the duration of the storm. Hurricane safety tips and resources provided by the National Weather Service are available here
• Los Angeles Department of Transportation Transit Operations will make any announcements involving significant road closures or transportation impacts here.
How Angelenos Can Request Support:
• In the event of a life-threatening emergency, Angelenos should call 911.
• For impacts like roadway flooding, tree limbs blocking roads, or mudslides, Angelenos should request service through https://lacity.gov/myla311 or by calling 311. Angelenos can also download the MyLA311 app. 311's Sunday hours of operation will be extended until 8:00 PM, and again until 11:00 PM if there is a high call volume. 311 may also adjust hours on Monday and Tuesday as needed.
• In the event of power outages or water main breaks, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers can call 1-800-DIAL-DWP or click here.
How the City of Los Angeles is Preparing For This Storm:
Preparing City Communications To Meet Potential Increased Need:
• 311 will be expanding Sunday operating hours until 8:00 PM, and again until 11:00 PM if there is high call volume. Operating hours on Monday will be 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM and may be adjusted as needed. 311 will also be providing public information updates about the storm as it progresses. Calls related to the storm and possible fires will be tracked.
Activating the Emergency Operations Center:
• The Emergency Management Department will activate its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to monitor and help manage any incidents and impacts on the City. Emergency Management is also prepared to issue mass warnings and notifications for Angelenos. The EOC will be activated at a Level 2 as the hurricane develops and makes landfall.
Preparations Made By The Los Angeles Fire Department:
• The Los Angeles Fire Department is fully staffed to respond to potential rainfall impacts. Teams are coordinating and collaborating across the City to define deployment and response, including across city departments to ensure targeted responses.
• To help Angelenos prepare for rainstorm needs, the Los Angeles Fire Department provides free ready-to-fill sandbags year-round at all 106 Neighborhood Fire Stations, with sand also available for free at select locations. For locations for sandbag pick-up and ways to keep yourself safe, click here.
• LAFD has prepared a specialized 50 member-strong swift water rescue team for flash flood resource deployment.
• The Department is also prepared to respond to lightning strikes related to the tropical storm. The helicopter fleet is available to deploy with the ability to water drop. Additional air resources are available to be called in for fire response. Contingency plans are in place in the event weather conditions do not permit flying.
• External mutual aid resources are available to respond from agencies including Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), United States Forest Service (USFS), Angeles National Forest (ANF), The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), The Orange County Fire Authority, Ventura County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Santa Monica Fire Department, Beverly Hills Fire Department, Culver City Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles Park Rangers.
• LAFD will use technology to deliver real-time information to develop effective strategies to protect the public such as Fire Integrated Real-time Intelligence System (FIRIS).
Preparations Made By The Los Angeles Police Department:
• The Los Angeles Police Department is ready to ensure that calls for service are handled, and to provide support should any evacuation be needed.
• Each patrol division will be providing checks of critical infrastructure for fire, flooding and wind damage.
• LAPD is conducting traffic surveys throughout the City in order to alert the Emergency Operations Center about areas of known flooding.
Homeless and Housing Assistance:
• The City of Los Angeles is working with Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to identify resources and establish augmented shelters across the City to provide shelter from the coming storm.
• As part of the City's Emergency Operations Center activating due to the storm, the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) has deployed staff to fill its seats in order to communicate and coordinate with other City departments.
• LAHD will continue to operate its hotline (866) 557-7368 to answer any landlord and tenant questions and will determine if any expanded hours are necessary, depending on storm-related calls. LAHD employees are also ready, if called upon, to serve as Disaster Service Workers in the City's response and recovery efforts.
How Los Angeles Is Preparing To Address Potential Power Outages:
• Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) restoration crews are fully staffed and ready to respond to any power outages caused by Hurricane Hilary. LADWP has additional field crews that regularly work on distribution system construction projects on stand-by, ready to assist our Electric Trouble crews to handle any increase in outages due to rain, wind and flooding.
• LADWP tree crews are also ready and on stand-by in case of tree-related outages to be able to remove fallen debris to enable field crews to repair equipment and restore power.
• Wind, rain and lighting associated with strong thunderstorms can cause localized power outages. If the power goes out, LADWP's first priority is responding to reports of downed wires and making conditions safe for the public and our crews. Situations involving downed trees and wires pose a significant hazard and restoration work can be delayed while trees are cleared and power lines are de-energized. LADWP crews will work around the clock and as quickly and safely as possible to restore power.
• LADWP's Customer Call Center will have increased staffing on Sunday and Monday to respond to customer calls. Angelenos can call 1-800-DIAL-DWP. Additional customer service representatives will be added should outages escalate.
• LADWP will regularly share outage information via its newsroom, Twitter (@LADWP) and NextDoor online platforms that inform affected neighborhoods on the status of their outage.
• Customers are also encouraged to sign up for outage alerts available in English and Spanish at http://www.ladwp.com/OutageAlert.
What Angelenos Should Do If Their Power Goes Out:
• Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) encourages customers to be prepared for a power outage and to stay safe by following the tips below:
o Never touch a downed power line! If you see a downed wire, stay away and call 911.
o Keep a flashlight and extra batteries nearby. Never use candles in a power outage or other emergency.
o Keep a fully charged cell phone on hand. If your power goes out or there are outages in your neighborhood, you may lose phone service and your cordless "landline" may also lose power. Extra portable cell phone batteries are very helpful in the event of an outage.
o If your power goes out:
Report it by calling 1-800-DIAL-DWP (1-800-342-5397).
Switch off all lights, except for one, so you will know when your power has been restored.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to protect their contents.
Preparing To Address Road Impacts and Local Flooding:
• StreetsLA, also known as the Bureau of Street Services, will make additional emergency trucks available at all times, citywide. StreetsLA is also proactively inspecting corridors across the City to assess any additional needs or preparations that may be required prior to the storm.
• StreetsLA personnel is readying various types of equipment and supplies in advance of Hurricane Hilary by:
o Proactively collaborating with City departments including Emergency Management Department (EMD) and other agencies as needed;
o Using wet weather gear to ensure the safety and readiness of all crews in the field;
o Ensuring all StreetsLA vehicles are fully fueled and ready for any situation;
o Preparing "Cold Storage," a material that allows crews to quickly fill potholes during emergencies (as opposed to the normal process of utilizing hot asphalt);
o Deploying heavy equipment/vehicles – including skip loaders, dump trucks, K-rails and earth-moving equipment – in strategic locations across the City, to be ready to handle mudslides and debris;
o Having ample sand available at StreetsLA yards across the City;
• StreetsLA relies on MyLA311 data to coordinate response to emergency services. It is imperative that Angelenos officially request repairs via MyLA311 so the Bureau can receive, inspect, and take appropriate action. Information about how to submit 311 requests is mentioned above.
• The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has activated the following resources to respond to the impacts of the storm:
o Emergency electrical repair crews will be on hand to respond to reports of downed traffic signals.
o Traffic officers and engineers are ready to respond to road closures and support emergency response efforts.
o The Automated Traffic Systems and Coordination (ATSAC) will be monitoring road conditions to maintain safe movement of traffic and reduce congestion in the event of major road and route closures
o LADOT Transit Operations will announce any changes to routes contingent on road conditions.
• Announcements involving significant road closures or transportation impacts will be updated here ladot.lacity.org/dotnews.
• In accordance to its departmental Wet-Weather Preparedness and Operations Plan, the Water Reclamation Plants, Clean Water Conveyance, and Watershed Protection Divisions of the Los Angeles Sanitation and the Environment (LASAN) will conduct pre-storm activities, including maximizing plant flows to relieve the sewer conveyance system and having extra staff on standby. Significant rains, as currently predicted, will add substantial flow to our sewer system, our water reclamation plants, and our stormwater system, so LASAN is on alert and ready to address any of these issues.
• A Storm Commander of LASAN has been assigned to begin tracking the storm and begin making the necessary preparations in advance of Hurricane Hilary. In addition to the Wet-Weather Preparedness and Operations plan, LASAN has a Department Emergency Plan and a Continuity of Operations Plan ready to implement as needed.
• LADWP Water System staff are conducting pre-storm inspections and have activated its Emergency Response Staff that includes Geotech, Geology, & Reservoir Surveillance and will be monitoring its in-basin reservoirs. In-basin reservoirs have sufficient capacity to handle increased runoff should localized flooding occur. Northern District Staff in the Eastern Sierra have also taken precautionary measures to protect the L.A. Aqueduct and local areas.
Los Angeles Unified School District Updates:
• For more information on storm preparations being made by the Los Angeles Unified School District and any possible storm closures, please visit lausd.org.
Preparing to Address Potential Building and Safety Issues:
• The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety will have inspection staff on standby to perform assessments of damages caused by the storm and will work closely with the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department.
Preparing For Impacts on City-Run Pools and Parks:
• Recreation and Parks facilities have been pre-identified should evacuation and/or shelters be needed.
• The Rangers are available to address any public safety issues within parks.
• The Forestry Division is on standby and ready to mobilize for any fallen trees in the parks system.
• The Construction Division is prepared to address any damages associated with the storm. Staff will monitor, report, and document any damages occurred by the storm
• The Maintenance Division is mitigating areas that have been identified as high risk of flooding in the parks system and will be on standby.
• Programs being offered that may be impacted due to the storm have been canceled or modified.
• Pools and recreation centers may have modified operations based on weather. Angelenos can visit https://swimla.org/ for more information.
Preparing For Impacts on City-Run Animal Services Facilities:
L.A. Animal Services' Animal Control Officers and SMART (Specialized Mobile Animal and Rescue Team) are ready to respond to any evacuation or rescue efforts. SMART also works closely with LAFD and Los Angeles County's Urban Search and Rescue/SwiftWater teams for animal related rescues during heavy rains.
Public hours for Los Angeles City Animal Services Centers may vary due to weather. Check here for updates.
Pet owners are encouraged to bring outdoor pets indoors and keep pets inside during heavy rainfall. Make sure pets are wearing a City dog license tag with up-to-date identification and are microchipped.
Angelenos who have lost their pets can utilize the Petco Lost Love and the Lost Pet Search on the L.A. Animal Services website.
Preparing For Impacts At The Los Angeles Zoo:
L.A. Zoo animals will have access to their indoor holding areas as necessary to ensure their safety and comfort.
The Zoo will continuously monitor the weather and the conditions on campus to ensure the safety of guests, staff, and animals. Staff will also prioritize additional maintenance for drainage systems.
Any adjustments to Zoo operations will be updated in real time for the public on the Zoo's website at http://www.lazoo.org
Preparing For Impacts At Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA):
All of LAWA's on-call personnel will be available to respond in case of operational impacts.
Passengers are encouraged to confirm their flight's status before they depart for LAX and to allow for enough time to travel to and from LAX.
Facilities and maintenance staff will be on-site and monitoring for leaks and checking storm drains to ensure there is no backup.
Los Angeles Airport Police will monitor roadway conditions within the Central Terminal Area and LAWA facilities.
The Federal Aviation Administration may make any determination of ground stops in case of wind or visibility issues.
If there are major delays or cancellations, LAWA will communicate with the media and the traveling public through social channels @flyLAXairport.
As always, airlines are responsible for communicating with their passengers on delays or cancellations. LAWA encourages passengers to check the status of their flights with their airlines first.
LAWA will have guest services on-site as needed to help passengers who may need assistance if their flight is canceled.
Preparing For Impacts At The Port of Los Angeles:
Port of Los Angeles officials have been contacting local marinas, small boat operators, marine terminals, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, other waterfront workers and cruise lines to make sure they are aware of, and prepared for, storm conditions.
With the assistance of Los Angeles Port Pilots and the Marine Exchange of Southern California, vessels will be relocated to anchorage points off shore to ride the storm out.
Los Angeles Port Police are prepared to work closely with Port tenants, the U.S. Coast Guard
•each sector and other local law enforcement, maritime fire, and emergency management agency partners are maintaining a readiness posture to respond to this potential climate emergency.
Port of Los Angeles has a webpage with live footage, statements, advisories, resources, from the port and its partner agencies. For more information please visit http://www.portoflosangeles.org
Los Angeles Public Libraries:
The Central Library will be providing rain ponchos and t-shirts to patrons while supplies last. Angelenos are encouraged to check the Library website for the most current information regarding operating hours.