San Diego Leaders Discuss El Niño Emergency Plan for Flood-Prone Area

The Tijuana River Valley area is prone to flooding, and a series of heavy storms is expected to last much of the week in San Diego

Amid heavy rainfall across the county Tuesday, San Diego leaders gathered to discuss emergency preparations in case this week’s strong El Niño rains cause major flooding.

San Diego City Councilmember David Alvarez was set to meet with Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina at 11 a.m. to talk about emergency storm preps for the Tijuana River Valley – an area known to be susceptible to flooding. The meeting will also include input from leaders with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD), Border Patrol and County Animal Services, as well as community members and ranchers from the Tijuana River Valley.

The group hopes to find solutions to help keep the area from serious flood damage as a series of heavy storms moves through the county this week. There are many farms, animals and residents in the Tijuana River Valley region at risk of flooding.

On Tuesday, large, muddy puddles were already beginning to form in the area as the rain fell.

Along with flood preparations, San Diego lifeguards and firefighters are also training for swift water rescues. According to officials, it only takes about a foot of water to lift a car, and only about six inches to sweep a person off their feet. When possible, locals should avoid areas prone to flooding.

“Because the ground is saturated, don’t play in creeks,” warned Sgt. Troy Keach with San Diego Lifeguards. “If you can, stay inside.”

In Imperial Beach, some residents are preparing to evacuate larger animals, including horses, from their properties, ahead of potential floods. Mayor Dedina says his region has been preparing for this El Nino weather since September, with several plans of action in place.

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