Environment & Science

LA County issues beach bacteria warning after rain

File: A car drives through standing water on December 11, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
File: A car drives through standing water on December 11, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Los Angeles County health officials are advising swimmers and surfers to stay out of the ocean for at least three days because of heavy storm runoff.

The advisory issued Monday came as a massive storm system moved through Southern California with heavy rain and minor flooding.

Seawater bacteria levels can increase significantly during and after rainstorms as contaminants in storm runoff enter the ocean via storm drains, creeks and rivers.

The advisories are common customary following heavy rains. The current advisory is in place through Thursday morning.

Between 0.1 and 0.6 inches of rain fell in the valley, and as much as 1 inch in mountain areas, according to Helen Chavez with the L.A. County Office of Emergency Management.

"We do definitely need the water," Chavez told Take Two. "We definitely have areas that are thirsty for this kind of rain fall."

Rain snarls Southern California traffic, causes flooding on roads

​Southern California commuters faced a roster of problems as heavy rain in the region caused flooding, mudslides and other traffic issues Monday morning. 

Water pooled in roadways, causing traffic backups. The California Highway Patrol Incident Log showed roadway flooding at 4:35 a.m. on the 105 Freeway at Nash Street in El Segundo. Several other roads across the region were impacted by flooding, including Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs. 

Reports from the CHP Incident Log also showed a mud slide on the Angeles Crest Highway in Antelope Valley.

As showers lightened, a flash flood watch issued by the National Weather Service was canceled a couple hours early.


Residents along L.A.-area hillsides scarred by wildfires were warned of possible mudslides, but only minor debris flows were reported.

Showers are expected to completely taper off by noon, but won't be gone for long. Another bout of rain should hit Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.


The storm impact was much worse in Northern California, where hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes as intense downpours, strong winds and lightning caused mudslides and widespread flooding, the Associated Press reports.

Weekend storms also took down a well-known giant sequoia tree in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The toppled tree was known for the huge tunnel carved in it for tourists to pass through.


Winter pet care tips 

As this wet winter season continues, safety precautions on the roads and at home are important, but pet owners should also exercise care when it comes to their pets.

“Animals should be kept away from the rain and wet conditions because, much like humans, they’re prone to sickness and they can contract various kinds of diseases,” Chris Kim with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control told KPCC.

Pet owners can avoid the risk of hypothermia in animals by making sure they have a sheltered space if they're kept outdoors. Making sure their food isn't exposed to excessive moisture is also imperative for their health, Kim said. 

He also added it's important to note that dogs might not want to go outside in the rain to relieve themselves. 

“That could result in bladder infections, so if dogs are unable to go out, owners should have an appropriate solution in place for dogs to be able to relieve themselves,” Kim said.

If a pet exhibits unusual behavior during storms, owners should contact a specialist, he said.

This story has been updated.