Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Villaraigosa says emergency teams deployed over rain, cautions drivers as some intersections flood

January 18, 2010 |  4:13 pm
As a wave of rainstorms moved through the Los Angeles area, city officials said they were on high alert with crews deployed to protect residents facing flooding, mud and debris flows.

"We’re about as ready for the rains that will be coming as we can be," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said this afternoon during a news conference at the city's emergency operations center. With many intersections around the city backed up with water, Villaraigosa urged drivers to be vigilant: "If you don’t have to be on the road – why don’t you stay home?" he said. "If you do, please be cautious."
City officials have set up a unified command post at a fire station in Panorama City and sent out special teams to monitor debris basins and the hillsides charred by the Station fire last summer. The city has also deployed water rescue teams near the burn area in Sunland and along the Los Angeles River in Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood and Glassell Park.

Los Angeles Fire Chief Millage Peaks said his agency had seen a surge in calls. "Most of the activity we’re seeing citywide right now is related to wires down, transformer fires, typical things that would go on with the weather cycle that we’re in right now," said Peaks, who added that the department is also grappling with an uptick in traffic accidents.

Peaks said he was aware of only one "very small" mudslide on Blanchard Canyon Road.
"We’ve got our brush patrol vehicles out there and our firefighters that are monitoring the debris basins, and we’re going to continue to watch this thing as we go throughout the week," Peaks said.
As a precaution, Los Angeles officials have also set up a shelter at Sunland Park Recreation Center, 8651 Foothill Blvd., in Shadow Hills. City officials urged residents to call 311 to report streets and intersections that have standing water. Information is also available at www.readyla.org.

-- Maeve Reston at L.A. City Hall