The rainy season is still months away, but with the mysterious El Nino weather phenomenon expected to make for a wetter winter this year, Thousand Oaks officials are already preparing for the worst.
Councilwoman Elois Zeanah sent a memo to her council peers last week, asking the panel to have City Manager Grant Brimhall prepare a plan for assisting residents when the storms strike.
Brimhall was way ahead of them, however. In a memo to the council, Assistant City Manager MaryJane Lazz said Thousand Oaks has already been preparing for potential flooding due to El Nino. The memo went on to detail the precautions the city has taken or is currently taking.
So far, among other things, the city has:
* Put a new radio system in place that will enable communications with all public safety services.
* Cleaned and checked all its storm drains.
* Checked all bridges to ensure that they are structurally sound and free of debris.
* Identified potential problem areas.
* Prepared to fill and pallet 1,000 sandbags. Thousand Oaks will also have 6,000 empty sandbags available to residents.
The city is also planning, among other things, to:
* Clean and check all debris basins.
* Coordinate neighborhood sandbag distribution with fire officials.
* Develop a mobilization plan for bus transportation.
* Create a public information program for the city's Web site and TOTV, the local government television channel, as well as other media.
Like most cities, Thousand Oaks performs many flood-preparation procedures annually, Lazz said, but this year the city is intensifying its efforts because of El Nino.
Thousand Oaks will be a hub of El Nino discussion on Oct. 15. An expert from the Scripps Institute will speak to Ventura County city and county employees at the Civic Arts Plaza's Forum Theatre.