False Flash Flood Alert Stymies L.A. County on Election Day

The alert coincided with days of brutally unseasonable California weather and an equally tense election cycle

As Los Angeles reconciled with mandatory evacuations following a storm system that cast an ominous shadow over the election, a flash-flood warning was mistakenly issued for all of L.A. county Tuesday afternoon as voters headed to the polls. According to the Los Angeles Times, the warning was initially meant for the Fish fire burn area—a community of about 1500.

Concerned by what the mistaken warning might mean for voter turnout, the Los Angeles County Registrar issued a tweet acknowledging the glitch and encouraging ongoing voter participation. 

The National Weather Service eventually canceled the emergency broadcast, but the agency was not able to stop the alarm from being transmitted to cell phones from a separate, federally managed system.

Though this particular evacuation warning was an error, it speaks to ongoing chaotic weather patterns lancing California statewide. Flash flooding has left thousands without power, killing one and leaving two missing, including one man whose fate remains unknown after he was swept into the rain-swollen Los Angeles River on Tuesday night, according to KTLA. Beyond this, the National Weather Service alerted locals to a tornado in Sacramento on Election Day, while the Santa Ana Mountains’ Bond Fire burn scar areas issued evacuation orders according to ABC News.

It’s an odd parallel to an election season that feels equally foreboding and hard to read. Perhaps the best way to sum up the tension of both the weather and the polls is the image of a speedboat the Los Angeles County Registrar confirmed was needed to bring in ballots from Catalina on Tuesday evening. 

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