With the season's first rains approaching, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Los Angeles Police Department on Wednesday night issued public safety advisories.
The county fire department reminded residents in areas prone to debris flows and mudslides to get ready. With December 2010 and 2011 among the wettest in the county's history, they offered these suggestions:
- Stay away from flood control channels, catch basins, canyons and natural waterways which are susceptible to flooding during heavy rains;
- Do not try to cross flooded areas or enter moving water;
- If flooding traps you in a car, stay with it. If necessary, wait on top of your car for assistance;
- If you become isolated, seek the highest ground available;
- If you see someone being swept away in moving water, do not try and make a rescue. Call 911 for trained emergency rescue personnel; if possible, throw the victim some type of flotation device
- Learn how to shut off all utilities. Remember, water and electricity do not mix.
- Obtain sandbags ahead of time. Sandbags and instruction materials for their use are available at most county fire stations.
Driving in the rain
LAPD warned motorists to drive extra carefully as a rain storm approaches.
The light rain Wednesday into Thursday was accompanied by an estimated tripling in the number of accidents on Los Angeles freeways, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Exact numbers were not immediately available, but the number of accidents this morning appeared to be about three times the normal number on a non-rainy day, said Officer Ed Jacobs said.
At about 4:45 a.m., a person was killed and two others suffered minor injuries in a multi-vehicle collision on the westbound Ventura (134) Freeway near Cahuenga Boulevard in Toluca Lake. At about 2:20 a.m., a big rig jackknifed on the Golden State (5) Freeway north of Colorado Street near Griffith Park, blocking all freeway lanes in both directions, said CHP Officer Anthony Martin. It was unclear if wet weather played a part in the wreck, but it was raining at the time of the crash.
Southern California will experience wet weather through Sunday night, National Weather Service forecasters said.
Motorists should leave an extra car length when coming to a stop during the rain, which is expected to last through Saturday. It is also recommended motorists accelerate slowly and take turns carefully, police said.
Motorists should also replace windshield wiper blades for better visibility and monitor tire usage and rotate tires for good traction.