7 Ways LA is Ready for El Niño


El Niño is coming, and if predictions are correct, Los Angeles could get more than of 30 inches of rain in the next twelve months. That would make it the rainiest season since El Niño tracking began in the 1950s.

For our drought-stricken Southland, the prospect of rain is great news. However, rain in Los Angeles can bring messy flooding. Every inch of rain sends 3.8 billion gallons of stormwater through our streets—and out to our rivers and ocean.

Thankfully the City of Los Angeles has been preparing for the upcoming El Niño on multiple fronts. Here are seven ways the city is ready for the rain:

  1. Cleaned Catch Basins and Debris Basins: LA Sanitation has cleaned 39,000 catch basins around LA to remove any debris that might clog them. They’ve also cleaned about 70 debris basins to ensure that stormwater keeps flowing out of neighborhood streets. Throughout the rainy season, LA Sanitation will continue to clear out catch basins to reduce the flooding risk.
  1. Countywide Coordination: LA Sanitation has joined forces with Los Angeles County Flood Control, the City’s Emergency Management Department and other city departments to coordinate efforts and prepare for El Niño. For information and guidance, visit LA Sanitation’s wet weather webpage and Mayor Garcetti’s El Niño page.
  1. Neighborhood Patrols: During rain events, LA Sanitation crews will patrol neighborhoods and communities that have historically been prone to flooding.
  1. 24-Hour Hotline: LA Sanitation emergency crews will be on hand during severe storms at (800) 773-2489 (CITY). The hotline allows residents to report information on clogged storm drains, flooded streets and sewer system overflow.
  1. Emergency Alerts: The City of Los Angeles operates an emergency notification system that sends out official voice mail, texts and email messages during emergencies and natural disasters. Register your contact details and preferred method of communication to receive updates.
  1. Free Sandbags at LAFD: During rainstorms, the potential for flooding and mudslides is significant, particularly in the foothills, low-lying communities and neighborhoods near recent wildfires. To help protect your property, the Los Angeles Fire Department has free ready-to-fill sandbags at 35 neighborhood fire stations.  Sand is available at a handful of them, so call ahead. 
  1. Rainwater Capture Projects: Since 2004, LA Sanitation has constructed more than 20 Proposition O-funded projects to capture rainwater and stop stormwater pollutants from reaching our rivers, creeks, lakes and ocean. When complete, Proposition O-funded projects will collectively have the potential to capture and infiltrate 650 million gallons of rainwater during a normal rainy season.

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