Today: Big rain is only hours away, LAFD’s internal vaccination program is working, robots are delivering food to UCLA students, and Public Health works with restaurants on new requirements for Friday’s outdoor dining reopening. What’s this? It’s just your Thursday news brief. Take it!
Morning News Rundown
Forecasters are calling SoCal’s next winter storm an “atmospheric river” that could bring 1.5 to 3.5 inches of rain to the L.A. basin and upwards of 2 to 5 inches in the foothills and mountains over the next day. The heavy rain is expected to hit central Los Angeles by late this afternoon. Warnings have been put out about possible mudslides and debris flows in recent burn areas, and portions of the 5 Freeway near the Grapevine may be closed based on expected snowfall. [ABC 7]
Since city firefighters began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in late December, the number of cases among LAFD personnel has seen a “sharp decline,” according to a memo sent out by Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas and obtained by the L.A. Times. [L.A. Times]
UCLA students are getting a taste of the future, literally, through a new service that delivers pizza, coffee, and groceries straight to their dorm rooms via six-wheeled autonomous robots. San Francisco-based robotics firm Starship Technologies recently launched the program on UCLA’s 400-acre campus with plans to expand to over 100 campuses nationwide by year’s end. [dot.la]
Last year’s spike in unemployment fraud and consumer complaints continues to ripple through the state’s financial system. Bank of America now reports the company lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a contractor for the state’s unemployment debit card program. [LAist]
Outdoor dining reopens in Los Angeles on Friday, even as community spread of COVID-19 remains at near-record levels. The county’s public health director says inspectors will be vigilant in citing protocol violations, including the requirement that servers wear both masks and face shields. [ABC 7]