After weathering a total of nearly 10 inches of heavy rainfall from two storms over the course of a week, Long Beach is now moving to clean up its streets and address other infrastructural needs.

“Thank you to our incredible city team on the storm response,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “They’ve been working around the clock for the last three days.”

Long Beach Airport saw its wettest three-day period ever since 1958, when record keeping began, receiving more than 7 inches of rain between Sunday, Feb. 4 and Tuesday, according to Todd Hall, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Los Angeles.

But the city has received a total of 10 inches since Thursday, Feb. 1, “pushing near all-time records,” Hall said.

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The city’s Public Works department has cleared 40 fallen trees and hundreds of palm fronds off the streets and will continue to pick up more stormswept debris, said Eric Lopez, director of Public Works.

Their team will also start filling potholes as soon as the rest of the rain passes and the ground is dry, said Lopez. He encouraged residents to report issues and send repair or cleanup requests through the Go Long Beach App.

The worst of the rain is over, but Long Beach could still see an extra half-inch of heavy rain with some light hail by midnight Wednesday, said Kristan Lund, NWS forecaster.

During the storms, Homeless Services handed out hot meals, motel vouchers and converted the Multi-Service Center into a shelter offering 72 beds in the evenings, pushing past max capacity.

“We didn’t want to turn anyone away,” said Alison King, acting director of the Health Department.

Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson communicates during a press conference a recap of the city’s preparedness and response of the recent storm that came through the city, in Long Beach, Wednesday Feb. 7, 2024. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

However, the city said the shelter was only open to Long Beach residents after homeless outreach organization Ktown for All tried contacting them to aid an unhoused woman, according to a post on Ktown for All’s X page (formerly known as Twitter).

On top of deploying swiftwater rescue teams for homeless outreach along the rivers, the city’s Fire Department also mobilized to hand out sandbags and respond to emergencies – including saving 19 people from a sailboat that crashed into the breakwater.

“We had one patient with a leg injury, and then a few nonswimmers and some who had never been on a boat before,” said Marine Safety Officer Chris Gonzales, who was involved in the rescue mission.

Long Beach Firefighter Chris Gonzales talks about his personal experience of rescuing several people off a sailboat that crashed into the breakwater during the recent storm in Long Beach, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Looking ahead, Richardson urged residents to take caution during storms and heed public notices.

“It was inadvisable to be out there at that time,” said Richardson. “Let this story be a lesson.”

The city’s beaches are still temporarily closed due to a 5 million-gallon sewage spill in Rancho Dominguez reported on Monday, when stormwaters swept down to Long Beach. El Dorado Park also remains closed.

To report potholes, downed trees and other debris, call 562-570-2700 or use the Go Long Beach App available on mobile devices.

Maison Tran is a fellow at the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected].