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The recent closure of I-5 due to mudslides from heavy rains amply demonstrated how vulnerable Southern California is to extreme weather events.  Experts have warned us that this year could be a very active and unpredictable flood season statewide due to expected strong El Niño conditions.  On Wednesday, October 28, State Senator Fran Pavley’s Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee will convene a hearing which will show what we might experience this year and how well prepared our flood managers and emergency service agencies are for this year’s rainy season.

The hearing will be held at the Van Nuys State Office Building, 6150 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

The hearing will begin with a presentation by William Patzert.  Often called the “prophet of California climate,” Patzert is a scientist at the California Institute of Technology’s NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.  He will describe what El Niño is, how this one is shaping up, and what the likely impacts will be.

Following Patzert will be presentations from Richard Leifield, Chief of Engineering for the Los Angeles District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers; Salomon Miranda, Southern Region National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator for the Department of Water Resources; Gary Hildebrand, Deputy Director, Water Resources, for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works; and James G. Featherstone, General Manager, City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department.  A public comment period will follow.

“This hearing will provide important information to the public and local officials on what we can expect this year,” Senator Pavley said. “While we certainly need the precipitation, past El Niños have brought significant problems to our region.  We need to be prepared.”

Paid parking is available in adjacent garages and lots. Free parking is available a block south on Van Nuys Blvd. in the Metrolink lot.

For more information, contact Marie Lakin, Deputy District Director for Senator Pavley, at (818) 876-3352.