Long Beach city officials urged the public to start preparing for above normal rainfall from El Niño weather conditions predicted to begin in mid-January while encouraging residents, businesses and visitors to sign up for a new emergency alert notification system called AlertLongBeach.


“We are prepared for El Niño,” said Mayor Robert Garcia during a press conference at the city’s emergency operations center (EOC) to announce the launch of the new emergency alert system. “We’re doing everything we can to get everyone the right information, and we’re going to continue to monitor these events as they happen over the course of the next few months and into 2016.”


The new system replaces an antiquated reverse-911 system and allows people to receive emergency alerts from the city through texts, emails or phone calls, whether through a cell phone or landline. All that is required for registration is a phone number, email address and home or business address.


Reggie Harrison, the city’s director of disaster preparedness and emergency communications, said this winter season the city is forecast to receive about 20 to 30 inches of rain, about double the city’s normal rainfall.


To prepare for heavy rains, people should: follow weather forecasts, clean rain gutters and drains; remove large items from alleyways that could prevent rainwater runoff; and repair windows or roofs that may have cracks, Harrison said. He also said walking or driving through flood waters is not advised and encouraged people to call 911 in the event of downed power lines.


People can sign-up for AlertLongBeach by visiting the city’s website at, www.longbeach.gov. For information on preparing for emergencies and developing emergency kits, visit www.longbeach.gov/health.