Environment & Science

SoCal cities prepare for what could be 2016's heaviest rainfall

File: A pedestrian uses her umbrella in the rain in Alhambra on April 8, 2016 as rain began falling.
File: A pedestrian uses her umbrella in the rain in Alhambra on April 8, 2016 as rain began falling.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

A rain storm is moving into Southern California, and meteorologists predicted it could bring the most precipitation the region has seen all year.

John Dumas, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told KPCC that parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties started seeing light rain early Thursday afternoon.

"Unfortunately, it's going continue into [Friday] morning's commuting hours," he said. 

Dumas said areas in the San Gabriel Valley Foothills could get as much as 3 inches of rain, which would bring the region's precipitation levels to about average for the entire season — just from one storm.

"We're excited about average" due to the drought, he said.

Areas recovering from this summer's wildfires should watch out for flash flood warnings, Dumas said, though the likelihood of flash floods were low as of Thursday afternoon. 

One of the "burn areas" recovering from wildfires is the city of Duarte. The city's population of about 21,000 residents should stay tuned to TV and radio to receive any flood warnings, officials said, and help themselves to a stockpile of sandbags for walling off flood-prone homes.

https://twitter.com/CityofDuarte/status/809488661419065348

Darrell George, Duarte's city manager, said the town was prepared for heavy rains, but that "things didn't look very bad." 

"I think we've got all our bases covered," George said. "The best thing to do is to just keep on eye on our website."

Duarte City Hall has a special emergency operations center conference room with radios and TVs with connections to law enforcement and the fire department, George said. Should it rain heavily and floods endanger residents, he said a team of city staff and contractors would step in to inform people what actions to take.

"I don't want to jinx anything, but nothing has really materialized yet," he said. "We're prepared."