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New flood warning issued

Laguna officials urge residents and business to put sandbags around homes and use flood gates to protect businesses.

December 28, 2010|By Cindy Frazier, cindy.frazier@latimes.com

Laguna Beach has sustained at least $10.2 million in damages from the seven-day rain spell last week and city officials are issuing a new warning of possible flooding as a new round of heavy rain is expected to hit the area Tuesday night and Wednesday.

"Last week the city of Laguna Beach experienced serious flooding conditions which have not been seen in several years," City Manager John Pietig said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this was just the first significant storm of the 2010/11 winter season.

"While local officials don't expect serious flooding this week, the saturated ground cannot take too much more precipitation. The potential for mudslides increases because the ground hasn't had time to dry out."

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The National Weather Service is forecasting heavy rain before 4 p.m. Wednesday and city officials are asking residents to take precautions, including sandbagging around homes and the use of flood gates to protect businesses.

Flood victims can obtain information about applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency benefits from http://www.fema.gov/assistance/index.shtm. The California Emergency Management Agency website is http://www.oes.ca.gov.

Preventative measures

The city suggests residents take the following preventative measures:

Sandbagging around property to divert water away from structures. Unfilled sandbags are available at all four Laguna Beach Fire Stations. Addresses and places for sand are at lagunabeachcity.net.

Downtown business owners should use floodgates in advance of an impending storm.

Business owners should ensure that the alarm companies and police department have their most up-to-date contact information.

In the event of a disaster, the city will attempt to contact all residents and business owners through the AlertOC system. To register, go to alertoc.org. All listed telephone numbers are already logged into the system.

Flood information

If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

Listen to the radio or television for information.

Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.

Evacuation

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should:

Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.

Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

If you have to leave your home:

Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

When driving in flood conditions, remember the following:

Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling;

A foot of water will float many vehicles; and

Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUVs and pick-ups.

For more information, call (949) 497-3311 or go to lagunabeachcity.net.

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