Cloudy With A Chance Of Actual Weather
An honest-to-goodness rainstorm in Santa Clarita? How to deal with the deluge.
If your house is like many in Santa Clarita, it probably wasn't built or landscaped to handle anything more than the mist sprayers at the line for Viper. And if you've lived here for more than a few years, your umbrella is probably buried so deep in the closet it will take an archaeological expedition to recover it. With this in mind, we've gathered some useful tips to help you stay safe and dry through the drizzle.
If you need to brave the storm, keep in mind that limited visibility and compromised road traction will significantly affect your trip. To avoid making any headlines, alter your driving habits accordingly :
- During the first part of the storm, oil and grime build-up on road surfaces renders them extra slippery. Watch out for hydroplaning and keep an extra cushion of space between your and others' vehicles.
- When braking, give yourself more time and distance. Be careful not to push the pedal too quickly or forcefully. You'll keep traction and give other drivers a better warning about what you're doing. Keep your headlights on and be vigilant about turn signals as well.
- Do your best to avoid untrustworthy puddles, I get the feeling they're hiding something.
- You aren't in a disaster movie, and you probably don't want to be. Don't try to cross deep or flowing water. Six inches of water can compromise control and possibly stall the motor. One foot of water will float most vehicles. And two feet of rushing water can sweep away even the most inefficient Hummers.
- Water can damage your engine's electrical components or stall it completely. If you feel the motor suffocate, it won't restart. Cut your losses and get out of the car to higher ground.
- If you do hydroplane, don't swerve the wheel or slam the brakes. Steer straight ahead until traction returns and only tap the brake lightly if needed.
- Keep the windows clear using your defrosters and air conditioning. Even with the heater running, the A/C will act as a dehumidifier, keeping you warm, dry, and seeing.
If you expect or discover that your property isn't draining effectively, you may need to erect some last-minute fortifications against possible flooding. Free sandbags are now available at local fire stations.
Sandbags should be filled a little more half full (optimism is especially helpful during the storm). Your dike should be one foot higher than the highest water level you expect. And while stacking bags like bricks in a straight wall may work for mild flooding, a proper dike has a triangular cross-section, with the base three times the height. Position your defenses parallel to the direction of water flow; you want to guide the flood, not stop it. A tarp, weighted down with sandbags, can be laid over the finished dike to seal and secure it.
And if you're planning to take advantage of the weather to catch some waves, be aware that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued a rain advisory for public beaches. Heavy rainfall washes high amounts of chemicals and bacteria down to the big blue, increasing the chances that swimmers may fall ill. Steer clear of beach areas near runoff outlets for at least three days after the rains subside.
If possible, the best idea is to find a sleeved blanket, your favorite film or bestseller, and put on a pot of chicken noodle soup. The storm of the century can be fun, from a safe perch on the couch.
As always, keep your radio tuned to KHTS AM-1220 for the latest local weather and emergency updates.