Officials are urging Southern California residents to prepare for another storm this Sunday, which could bring “damaging and life threatening” flooding on the heels of another storm that battered Long Beach on Thursday.

A strong system, which forecasters are calling “the largest storm of the season,” is expected to be more powerful than the last, dumping three to six inches of heavy rain at rates from a half to one inch per hour through at least Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Rainfall will persist through most if not all of next week, with the highest intensity expected Sunday night through Monday morning as the atmospheric river makes its way through central and Southern California, the service said.

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Monday morning commutes may be difficult, if not impossible, as urban areas will likely be heavily affected, said Mike Wofford, meteorologist at NWS in Los Angeles. High-speed winds can also knock off branches and fall onto passersby, he added.

“[The storm] could really bring things to a standstill,” said Wofford. “It’s definitely going to be an all-area hazard.”

The Monday downpour could also bring thunder and showers that will likely taper off Tuesday with intermittent heavy rain to follow. However, Wofford warns that the rain may potentially go on for the rest of the week.

Vehicles became submerged in flooded water at Willow Street and the Terminal Island Freeway as a rainstorm leaves flooded streets throughout the city in Long Beach, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Officials have issued a flood watch Sunday through Monday night and said “there is still time to prepare,” encouraging those in the region to:

  • Change travel plans to avoid dangerous roads.
  • Charge up batteries and phones in case of power outages.
  • Move parked cars out of places vulnerable to flooding.
  • Be ready for any potential evacuation orders, especially near rivers and creeks.
  • Watch this video from Caltrans for safety tips driving in flooded areas.

Residents can sign up for Alert Long Beach here to get emergency notifications. The city said this week that it has mobilized to address many problems caused by flooding, including the removal of downed trees that fell in the public right-of-way.

This weekend, crews are working to build berms in vulnerable beach areas to protect residents and properties. Swiftwater Rescue Teams will also continue to conduct outreach along the riverbeds.

For those experiencing homelessness, the Inclement Weather Shelter at the Multi-Service Center remains open Friday night and through the weekend to provide emergency shelter.

Residents can pick up empty sandbags with their ID at any Long Beach Fire Station. Sand is available at the following locations:

  • Lifeguard Station located at 72nd Place and Ocean Boulevard
  • Fire Station 7 (2295 Elm St.)
  • Fire Station 12 (1199 Artesia Blvd.)
  • Fire Station 13 (2475 Adriatic Ave.)
  • Fire Station 14 (5200 Eliot St.). Note: Station 14 is temporarily closed for construction. However, sand and sandbags are located off East Paoli Way and East 3rd Street.

The city saw nearly three inches of rain on Thursday alone. The storm brought down power lines, filled the LA and San Gabriel rivers and submerged vehicles around the Terminal Island Freeway and Willow Street underpass. Firefighters helped stranded passengers out of their cars while crews assisted Peninsula residents whose homes were impacted by flooding.

Thursday’s downpour also prompted the closure of all recreational swimming areas at or near Colorado Lagoon and Alamitos Bay after more than 47,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the local bay areas, according to city officials.

During storms, city officials typically advise residents not to enter the water for three days. After a sewage spill, state law requires the Health Department to monitor the water quality until it complies with state quality standards.

The City’s Emergency Communications Center is prepared to handle high volumes of non-emergency calls through 562-435-6711. Residents should call 911 for emergencies.

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