As tropical storm Hilary dumps heavy rains in Southern California, Los Angeles leaders are urging residents to stay indoors.
“Stay safe, stay home, and stay informed,” L.A. Mayor Karen Bass said at a news conference Sunday. “This is an unprecedented weather event, but Los Angeles has deep experience responding to crises, whether it be wildfires or earthquakes. The city is prepared.”
Bass warned residents should “avoid unnecessary travel,” and keep flashlights handy and cell phones charged.
The mayor spoke from the city’s emergency command center and was joined by other local leaders.
Related Story: SoCal Residents Warned of Possible Power and Service Outages as Hilary Closes In
Heavy downpours began in the Los Angeles area Sunday afternoon.
The storm was expected to cause flooding in mountain areas and the Antelope Valley outside Los Angeles, officials said. Residents can get updated storm information by registering for Notify LA alerts.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore also spoke at the news conference and said the police department was pressing more officers into action.
“The Los Angeles Police Department has augmented its staffing, both in its uniformed patrol units, as well as in its specialized units,” Moore said. “The next 24 to 36 hours are critical.”
[Watch the news conference below]
The National Weather Service sent out cell phone alerts throughout the day, saying a flash flood warning is in effect until 3:00 a.m. Monday morning, and includes Long Beach and Glendale.
“This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order,” the alert said.
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With the storm closing in, the city of L.A. opened several emergency shelters to accommodate its homeless population of over 46,000.
The city of Pasadena said it was opening a shelter for the unhoused as well.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday declared a state of emergency ahead of Hilary’s arrival.
“California has thousands of people on the ground working hand-in-hand with federal and local personnel to support communities in Hurricane Hilary’s path with resources, equipment and expertise,” Newsom said in a statement.
Hilary weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm off the coast of Baja California in Mexico. The storm made landfall Sunday on the Baja California peninsula, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The hurricane center warned that the storm could cause “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” over Baja California and parts of the Southwestern U.S. through Monday.
Hilary is making history as the first tropical storm to hit Southern California since 1939.
A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the following areas, according to the National Hurricane Center:
-Baja California peninsula west coast from Puerto San Andresito northward
-Baja California peninsula east coast from Loreto northward
-Mainland Mexico north of Guaymas
-California/Mexico border to Point Mugu in Ventura County, Calif.
-Catalina Island in Los Angeles County, Calif.
Watch Sunday’s news conference out of Los Angeles below:
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