The Santa Clarita Valley Braces for Tropical Storm Impact
In response to the impending threat, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a tropical storm watch for the Santa Clarita Valley, encompassing areas like Castaic Lake, Castaic, Newhall, and Valencia. Meteorologists from the NWS’ Oxnard Station, which handles forecasts and monitoring for the SCV, have become increasingly certain that the region will experience tropical storm-level winds and heavy rainfall, particularly from Saturday through Monday, with a possibility of extending until Tuesday.
Ariel Cohen, the lead meteorologist at NWS’ Oxnard station, urged residents to take necessary precautions ahead of the adverse conditions. “Prepare for the potential of landslides, mudslides, and debris flows. Tall objects, especially trees, are at risk of falling. Take the necessary steps to ensure safety under these circumstances,” Cohen advised.
Anticipated weather conditions include gusts of wind reaching up to 45 mph and rainfall ranging from half an inch to one inch per hour, persisting for an extended period. Lightning and thunder are also in the forecast.
Although the tropical storm watch excludes Los Angeles, Cohen emphasized that the primary focus will be on areas such as mountainous regions, water bodies, and Catalina Island, where the most significant weather conditions are expected. While the watch was initially issued on Friday morning, there is no set end date. Additionally, a Flood Watch is set to come into effect on Sunday afternoon, continuing until Monday evening.
The Santa Clarita Valley is particularly susceptible to flash floods. Residents, especially those living in hilly and mountainous areas, are strongly advised to stay informed about local conditions during the storm and prepare for potential flooding. Evacuations may be necessary in certain areas. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches could transform into dangerous waterways, increasing the risk of rockslides, mudslides, and debris flows.
The flood control systems and barriers might be strained, leading to potential issues. Streets and parking lots could turn into flowing water bodies, with underpasses at risk of submersion. Driving conditions may become hazardous, and road closures and bridge damage are possible outcomes.
As a parallel event, Hurricane Hillary rapidly escalated from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane within a 24-hour period, with wind gusts reaching up to 145 mph. The hurricane is expected to affect Baja California and is projected to arrive on Saturday.
Although Hillary is predicted to revert to tropical storm status upon nearing California, meteorologists stress that residents in the Santa Clarita Valley should remain cautious. To help residents prepare for potential flooding, the NWS offers the following guidelines:
- Safeguard your belongings by creating a personal flood file containing crucial information about your possessions.
- Ensure your property is ready by checking and maintaining sump pumps and considering battery-operated backups.
- Develop a family emergency plan, including assembling a safety kit and designating emergency contacts.
- Plan and practice a flood evacuation route.
Remaining vigilant and well-prepared can significantly enhance safety during the impending tropical storm conditions.