By Charly SHELTON
More rain is on the way and February, typically the wettest month for Southern California, is yet to come. With the rain that hit the Crescenta Valley in early January already taking its toll, residents are scrambling to acquire sandbags to protect their homes and properties. Empty bags and sand to fill them are available at local fire stations, but the sand usually isn’t available for long.
“Fire station 63 currently has sand and bags,” said Stephanie English, spokesperson for L.A. County Fire Dept. “We’re trying to keep up with the demand but it goes pretty fast. Unfortunately, [the sand] seems to go fast when it starts raining, so we’re really trying to encourage folks to get out there before the rains hit.”
It is with this hope that L.A. County Fire will be hosting a sandbag event this Saturday at Two Strike Park to help educate the public about proper sandbag usage and installation. At the event, there will be prefilled sandbags available for free to residents.
“We’re going to be calling out our camp crews and our local firefighters and we’ll be there all day,” English said. “We’re providing some prefilled sandbags and we’re providing extra sand if folks want to take more than what we’ll have available per vehicle. It will be a 10 sandbag per vehicle limit so we have enough to distribute throughout the community. We have about 2000 sandbags, give or take. Whatever we end up coming in with will be [there] while supplies last.”
LAFD will also be giving out literature and answering questions about how, why and where to put the sandbags to properly protect a home and yard. It may be prudent for residents to take photos of the at-risk areas of their property and bring them to the event to get the best case-by-case advice.
The event will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. And according to the National Weather Service, it may be raining. There looks to be 1/10 of an inch expected midday on Saturday for the L.A. area. While this may just be a minor inconvenience and not the flurry of activity one may expect from El Niño, Kathy Hoxsie, meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said that it is just part of the cycle.
“El Niño is the conditions, it is not any kind of individual storm,” Hoxsie said. “We are still waiting for another one of those types of storm systems [which hit us in the first week of January]… It’s not unusual to have a really strong series of storms and then be dry for several weeks, and then another good series of storms. So that, at least anecdotally, over the last 15 years when we’ve had some strong El Niños, that’s been the way it went.
“February could possibly be a pretty wet month – we’ve got our fingers crossed. There are indications that we could be moving back into another wet pattern.”
So with El Niño biding its time and the weather systems beginning to switch, now is the perfect time to do any home repairs and put sandbags in place before February hits. As much of a hassle as rain already is in Los Angeles, it will be worse for homeowners if their house floods and sandbags are needed to be placed during heavy rain. Or worse – all the sandbags are gone.
Two Strike Park is located at 5107 Rosemont Ave. in La Crescenta.