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Home / Neighborhood / Los Angeles / LA Mayor Bass declares local emergency in response to storm

LA Mayor Bass declares local emergency in response to storm

by City News Service
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By Jose Herrera

Mayor Karen Bass Monday signed a declaration of a local emergency that is intended to help the city of Los Angeles’ response to the storm and ensure resources for the recovery period.

Bass’ action came on the heels of similar emergency declarations by Los Angeles County and Gov. Gavin Newsom, who declared an emergency for all of Southern California. The mayor recognized that Sunday’s storm marked the 10th wettest day in the history of the city since recording rain amounts began in 1877.

“With unprecedented rain came unprecedented preparation, and now comes unprecedented response,” Bass said during a news conference late Monday morning.

The mayor thanked the Los Angeles Police Department and Fire Department, street repair crews, traffic engineers, park staff and others, who were responding to the impacts of the storm.

“All through the night, firefighters, police officers, street repair crews, traffic engineers, parks and recreation staff and the entire city family have worked to address this storm,” Bass said. “To help facilitate this response, this morning I have signed a declaration of a local emergency, which will help our response and ensure that the city has the required resources to respond to the storm now, but also in the recovery period.”

She continued to urge residents to stay safe and off the roads, as more rain is expected to come down.

“Only leave your house if it is absolutely necessary. Stay informed. Register for notifyla@emergency.lacity.gov,” Bass said.

Bass noted the city had to evacuate certain neighborhoods, and residents will receive an alert if their area requires an evacuation.

“I am confident we will weather the storm too because, once again, the city and county are prepared,” Bass said. “We are sharing information and I’ve been seeing Angelenos take action to make common sense preparations.”

Residents were asked to keep 911 lines open for life-threatening emergencies, including fallen power lines. The city’s 311 hours, to request service, have been extended for flooded roads, fallen branches, flooded gutters and more. In case of power outages or water main breaks, call the Department of Water and Power at 1-800-DIAL-DWP.

Bass reiterated that her office alongside the Los Angeles Housing Services Authority have done “intensified” outreach to people experiencing homelessness near the L.A. River and in high flood risk areas.

Fire Chief Kristin Crowley reviewed rain amounts and weather conditions, noting the Greater Los Angeles Area received 2 to 5 inches, and 5 to 10 inches of rain fell in the Santa Monica Mountains and the Topanga Canyon area.

“This rain resulted in citywide incidents increasing by over 30%,” Crowley said.

In preparation of the storm, she said the Fire Department added more teams of Swift Water Rescue, Community Emergency Response, Urban Search and Rescue, helicopter pilots, and command and dispatch to assist more than 1,000 firefighters already on duty.

Crowley reported the Fire Department responded to more than 130 flooding incidents, 49 mud and debris flows, extinguished half a dozen structure fires, and more. She also noted LAFD was on site at multiple active incidents, including a mudslide on Beverly Drive in the Hollywood Hills/Beverly Crest area.

There was also a report of a young boy that had fallen in the Pacoima Wash that feeds into the L.A. River. While hundreds of firefighters and specialized crews conducted an exhaustive search up and down the river, the boy was not found.

“No victim has been identified. This incident has been passed to the L.A. County Fire Department and outside of city limits,” Crowley said.

She noted the storm event is expected to continue through Tuesday with an estimated 1 to 3 inches of additional rain. Downtown Los Angeles received about 4 inches of rain just since Saturday night.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho discussed the impacts the rain had on schools, as well as the district’s decision to hold classes Monday.

Carvalho said it was the “right call” to keep schools open, citing campuses as safe places for students and providing them with warm food.

The superintendent touted a “successful school day” with about 90% of teachers reporting to work, as well as 91% of classified personnel, including 90% of bus drivers.

More than 1,000 bus drivers went out in the storm, picked up students and dropped them off safely at campuses, and only one bus broke down, according to Carvalho. The average delay was no greater than 30 minutes for all routes, with the exception of one bus which experienced a 90 minute delay.

Carvalho said the district expected low attendance, and only about 63% of students went to school. Many parents, especially essential workers, had to send their children to school, he added.

“Even though we had 63% of students attending school today, we will serve more meals today in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where 80% of our kids depend on free breakfast and lunch,” Carvalho said.

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