Storm-Related Bacteria Levels Prompt Health Officials to Issue Rain Advisory for Long Beach Waters

The Long Beach Health Department has issued a rain advisory for all Long Beach waters, including the Alamitos Bay and Ocean Front beaches, due to heavy rain this week, authorities said.

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“After any significant rainfall, unhealthy conditions may result from increased runoff from storm drain outlets and rivers, which eventually reach the city’s beaches,” health officials stated.

The rain advisory is a level three beach watch condition, during which “bacterial levels rise significantly during and after rainstorms,” according to the health department’s website.

During that time, contact with water should be avoided for a period of 72 hours after rainfall ends.

A level four beach watch condition—the highest advisory level—would require the closure of all beaches.

“This advisory is in effect through January 8, 2016 and may be extended if additional rain occurs prior to that date.”

In addition, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works has ordered the closure of the Los Angeles River and San Gabriel River bike paths.

The series of El Niño-related storms has led the Long Beach Fire Department to activate a 24-hour Swift Water Team operation, during which three teams of two individuals monitoring for possible flooding in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers and smaller water areas, according to LBFD Marine Safety Chief Gonzalo Medina.

The teams are also escorting the homeless population out of those areas and advising them to use city’s homeless shelters, Medina said, where water has been rising an average of 2-10 feet.

On Tuesday, LBFD personnel rescued a homeless woman from rising waters in the Los Angeles River when they encountered her during a welfare check.

Rescue teams were also sent out to the San Gabriel river Wednesday morning regarding a call of two young individuals who “decided to go boogie boarding” in the river, Medina said. It was unclear if they eventually exited the river on their own or if they were rescued.

"Based on the anticipated precipitation over the next 24 hours of 1.5 - 2 inches of rain, the LBFD will continue to operate at a Level II Swiftwater deployment,” he stated.

According to health officials, the Rainbow Harbor debris boom is being staffed 24/7 to minimize the material flowing out of the LA River. “In the Peninsula, berms have been built out by Park Rec and Marine crews, and holding firm against the small swell rolling in with the weather system.”

The city’s Public Works Department will continue to replenish sand at various fire stations due to heavy demand from residents, officials stated.

Public Works officials advise caution when driving on city roads and walking/riding on sidewalks, and if you see something, say something by calling 9-1-1 or 562.435.6711.

For those who want sandbags to protect their property, contact Long Beach CERT for more information at 562.570.2525.

Further information may be obtained from the Health Department’s Water Quality Information Line at 562.570.4199, or online.



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