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Los Angeles Flooding Risks - The Winter of 2023 Was Not an Accident

Los Angeles Flooding Risks - The Winter of 2023 Was Not an AccidentPhoto byJunaid Iqbal

Throughout the winter months of 2023, Los Angeles County and the rest of California experienced severe weather, rainfall, and snow that resulted in flash flooding and storm damage.

Trees fell on homes and cars, while driving was impossible, with some drivers being driven off the road.

Over 6,000 people were ordered to evacuate, and around 200,000 homes and businesses lost power.

Californians aren’t used to experiences like this. With year-round sunny weather, a mild climate, and definitely no heavy storms, SoCal was struck out of nowhere with these calamities.

But the thing is, this was not an accident.

In fact, if you’re a citizen of Los Angeles reading this, chances are that you’re living in a floodplain.

How Big Are the Risks of Flooding in Los Angeles

Over 874,000 people are living in a floodplain right now in Los Angeles. The worst part is that the majority of these people reside in lower income areas.

This means that people who have the least amount of resources to protect themselves and no option B are the exact people exposed to the highest flooding risks.

These floodplains are defined as areas with high chances of experiencing a severe flooding event in the next 100 years.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Another study points out how vulnerable California’s affordable housing truly is. The number of affordable housing units in the state with a risk of flooding is expected to increase by 40% by 2050.

And lastly, one of the more recent studies shows that the population living in LA that’s at risk is 10 to 40 times greater than the government suggests.

Even though it was pretty bad in the winter of 2023, these forecasts aren’t optimistic either. The best thing you can do right now as a citizen of Los Angeles or if you reside nearby is learn what causes floods and how to prepare.

Why is Los Angeles at Risk of Flooding?

Aging or inadequate flood infrastructure, urbanization, and climate change-driven changes are some of the biggest factors that make the Los Angeles metro area have such high flooding risks.

The studies linked above show expectations for heavy rainfall, snow, and storms in the upcoming years and decades.

Combine the severe weather with an infrastructure that can not handle it, and we’ve got the future of Los Angeles.

But the rapid urbanization of the metropolis continues, along with the underestimation by the authorities of just how risky the territory truly is.

How to Prepare for a Flood

Learn about the different types of floods that can happen and the warning signs associated with each one. Besides flash flooding, there are river floods, coastal floods, storm surges, ice jams, snowmelts, and others.

Purchase flood insurance if you haven’t already. Standard home insurance policies do not cover damage from flooding and natural disasters.

Usually, the authorities will give everybody a warning, but you still want to be ready ahead of time in case you’re required to leave.

Have a straightforward plan of action ready for what you will do and where you will go in the event of a flood.

Also, have an emergency kit that you can pick up at all times. Avoid carrying large or unnecessary objects because they will just slow you down.

Make that emergency kit consist of only the things you absolutely can’t make it without.

Copy all of your critical documents too.

These were some of the fundamental flood preparation tips. We highly suggest you read more of them from the American Red Cross or FEMA.

What to Do During a Flood

Again, follow what the authorities say. Listen to the forecasts and respect their warnings.

Always be prepared to evacuate, and if ordered to do so, do not delay it. Make sure to turn off all utilities and place some sandbags around your house.

Be careful if you’re driving, and never cross the police lines.

Remember, in flooding scenarios, safety is always a priority. Even if you’re about to lose a valuable item, leave it. Make sure that you, your family, and your pets are all safe before trying to recover any items.

Do not enter, walk, or swim through floodwaters. They’re too dirty and hazardous, and you could also step on an object and injure yourself.

Also, during floods, always stay on higher ground.

What to Do After a Flood

After you’ve made sure everybody is safe and the worst has passed, try to help those less capable or fortunate than you if you’re in a condition that allows you to do so.

Do not enter the house if it’s flooded. The property has to be properly cleaned and sanitized before you go back inside. For assistance with flood restoration, you can call a company like Vetted Los Angeles Restorations which is based in Los Angeles and can help those struck by a flood.

Do not stop listening to the authorities until the risk is officially gone.

If eligible, try to apply for a FEMA grant. If you’re running a business, see if you can get an SBA disaster loan.

Now is also the time to file that flood insurance claim that you’ve prepared for.


We hope that you’ve learned something new today. The best way to protect yourself from flooding is to be educated and ready. Check out the studies we linked to, and if you have the means, move from the area with higher risks to the one with less risk. Other than that, we wish you a great rest of your day and the best of luck.

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