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LA Launches El Niño Map to Aid Citizens as Storms Hit

The map shows citizens weather information, sandbag availability, power outage statuses and more.

As the first of this year’s El Niño storms hits California, the state’s biggest city has launched a map to keep citizens up to date and help guide them to resources they might need in case of flooding.

The City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency’s “El Niño Watch” website shows users a map of the county, including a layer showing rainfall severity and pins that show where residents can find sandbags, shelter, hardware stores and other resources. The map also lets users know the status of power outages and shows traffic alerts.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Tuesday's storm is already causing some flooding around the city.

The application runs in Google Maps, allowing users to plug in directions to pins on the map into smartphones.

The city embeds the map in various locations, such as its official ElNiñ site. And the website hosting the map,, also links to the city’s main El Niño preparedness center, emergency alert registration and the municipal 311 service.

According to the National Weather Service, El Niño is a series of weather trends related to warm water temperatures in parts of the Pacific Ocean. The service wrote in a Dec. 10 advisory that it expects this year’s event to be among the three most powerful El Niño episodes dating back to 1950. A precipitation map from the service lists Southern California as one of the most heavily rained-upon areas in the country during El Niño storms.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.
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