El Niño: It's Here!

It's finally about to creep into Southern California. We're talking about El Niño! Heavy rains triggered by the warm-water phenomenon are expected into our area overnight tonight and, in all of our counties, emergency workers are encouraging people to make sure they are prepared.

Standing at a wall map at the Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center, Emergency Management Department General Manager Jim Featherstone points to the areas that could experience flooding or mudflows.

He says the Venice canals could overflow, nearby Mar Vista could have problems. Pacoima and Sunland are a couple of other areas officials are watching as a series of storms aim at Southern California this week.

For months, Featherstone and his team have been planning. He says, "the consequences are too great" not to be prepared. He worries about death, destruction, the the vulnerability of the homeless… especially those not willing to go to the many shelters that have been opened because of the storms. The veteran first responder says, "We're concerned about exposure… hypothermia. We have people who live on the street. Now, they're wet and they're cold" from the approaching weather.

There are many areas of concern. In LA County… the Arroyo Seco flood channel … homeowners have concerns there. Down in Orange County… Silverado Canyon and Santiago Canyon… both burn areas have the attention of local agencies. Same goes for Camarillo Springs in Ventura County where heavy rains have caused damaging slides n the past. They put up a big net to try and catch falling debris this go-around.

In burn areas, like Glendora, homeowners are grabbing sandbags because they're worried that with too much rain, the hills around their homes could come tumbling down.

Meanwhile, as surfers enjoyed the water off the Ventura County Coast the Ventura Pier, damaged last month, could be in danger. We saw crews working there. And, we spotted preparations in Solamar Beach where fire caused for the 101 freeway to be shut down for over a day last month. Now, there is a danger of another closure if there is a mudslide.

What happens is dependent on what Mother Nature has in store.

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