Preparing for Hilary: What you need to do now to get ready for historic storm

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City of Pasadena urges residents to stay home ahead of Hilary
The city of Pasadena is preparing for the impact of Hurricane Hilary, asking all residents to avoid unnecessary travel and to stock up on supplies.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles and Orange County are under a tropical storm watch for the first time in history as Hurricane Hilary makes its way toward Southern California.

Though Hilary was downgraded to a Category 2 storm Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service said it'll still pack a punch with heavy rain likely to prompt flash flooding in some mountain and foothill areas, along with powerful winds Sunday into Monday.

WATCH | SoCal Costco store got so busy ahead of Hurricane Hilary, store ran out of carts

Grocery stores in general were busier on Saturday as people stocked up on supplies and water ahead of the storm.

Many residents have already been stocking up supplies and groceries, but what exactly do you need and how do you know you're fully prepared? Here's what you need to know.

Make a plan for you and your family

Make sure sure you and your family are prepared by having a well-thought out plan. Do you have all your emergency phone numbers written down? Are they stored in your cell phone?

Make sure you know how you and your family will get in contact with each other should an emergency occur. Also, take some time to review your insurance policies to make sure you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.

The CDC also recommends you build a "plan by location." Do you and your family live in a home or an apartment building? Are you traveling and are stuck in an area under a warning? The CDC has a webpage dedicated to these plans that you can view here.

Gather supplies

Make sure you have enough food, water, medication and other supplies to last you and your family for several days.

Before the storm, officials recommend you have the following items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Additional emergency supplies

Consider adding the following items to your kit based on your individual needs:

  • Soap, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
  • Prescription medications. About half of all Americans take a prescription medicine every day. An emergency can make it difficult for them to refill their prescription or to find an open pharmacy. Organize and protect your prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins to prepare for an emergency.
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Know your watches and warnings

The National Weather Service encourages everyone to familiarize themselves with the meaning of NWS watches and warnings. You can find a break down of each one here.

Local officials may tell you to evacuate or to stay in place so FEMA encourages people in any possible impact areas to pay close attention to local emergency information and alerts. Be sure to sign up for your local weather alerts and pay attention to the NWS.

Don't forget about your pets

Plan where you and your pet will stay in case you need to evacuate. Pets may not be allowed in some local shelters, unless they're service animals. Some disaster evacuation centers may not accept pets and other animals.

According to the Red Cross' website, when possible, Red Cross shelter workers will do all they can to accommodate domesticated pets comfortably, but depending on the situation, pets may need to be housed in a different location with support from animal welfare groups.

Work to find shelters or out-of-town friends or relatives where your pets and other animals can stay during an emergency. Track down boarding facilities or animal hospitals near you or maybe ask a neighbor you can trust who can check on your animals and can evacuate your animals if necessary.

Seeing flooding? Don't walk, swim or drive through the waters

As the saying goes, turn around, don't drown! Authorities strongly urge people to stay off bridges over fast moving water in areas experiencing flooding. Officials say the water can wash bridges away without warning.

Also, stay inside your car if it is trapped in rapidly moving water. If you're stuck, get on the roof if water is rising inside the car.

Power outages and landslides

A storm can bring power outages so be sure to take inventory of your items that rely on electricity. If you have critical medical equipment, you can ask your power provider to put you on a list for priority power restoration, according to FEMA.

If you have a generator, remember to only use it outdoors and away from windows. If the power goes out, throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has unusual odor, color or texture.

If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug's label says otherwise.

If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow or water that changes from clear to muddy. These can be signs that a landslide is coming.

Plus, be sure to avoid river valleys and low-lying areas and never cross a road with water or mud flowing. Plus, never cross a bridge if you see fast flowing water because it can grow faster and larger too quickly for you to escape. If you do get stuck in the path of a landslide move uphill as quickly as possible.

Help each other

Be sure to check on your neighbors to see if they need any help preparing.

For more ways you can prepare now for a hurricane, visit

This article contains emergency planning information from FEMA, American Red Cross, the CDC and the National Weather Service.

City News Service also contributed to this report.