LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin work next week to temporarily raise the banks along three miles of the Los Angeles River to improve flood protection during El Niño storms.

The Corps district commander and city and county officials announced $3.1 million in emergency funding for the project on Friday, just days after torrential rains from a series of El Niño storms turned the normally trickling stream into a raging river.

“Our river is unique — most of the year it runs nearly dry, and then during the rainy season it runs in powerful torrents as we’ve seen this week,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.

“We want to be prepared for the worst case scenario. These channels were built for a certain amount of cubic feet per second to move down this river channel. And we’re not there right now,” said Col. Kirk Gibbs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

According to the engineers, temporary barriers are already on the way to Los Angeles to be placed along a three-mile stretch of the river in what is known as Glendale Narrows to increase its capacity.

“We’re going to prevent flood damage especially in Atwater Village, especially in Elysian Valley where these flood-prevention mechanisms will be placed.

City leaders hope the measures will help prevent deaths and property damage. But they say people need to do their part too and stay out of the flood channels when there is a storm.

The federal government has also set aside a half million dollars to remove vegetation in areas susceptible to floods.

The 51-mile urban river runs from the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean.

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