City staff ready to respond to next winter storm aimed at Bay Area

One of the many area trees felled by the New Year's Eve storm.

From the City of Piedmont on Jan. 3:

With heavy rain and strong winds forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, the City of Piedmont urges community members to exercise caution and help keep Piedmont safe by reporting downed power lines, clogged drains, fallen trees, and other issues.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the East Bay from 4 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4 until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5 and a high wind warning from 4 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4 until 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5. Rains as intense or more than during Saturday’s storm are forecast throughout the Bay Area. The heaviest rainfall is expected late afternoon Wednesday through early Thursday morning.

Public works, police, and fire staff be working through the heavy storms, day and night. Staff are on call to deal with downed trees or flooding affecting local homes, businesses, or streets. Crews will prioritize calls in the order they are received unless an issue is identified as hazardous to the greater public.

Over the weekend, public works crews worked around the clock performing continual maintenance at creek crossing and storm drains, responding to a sewer overflow, multiple landslides, removal of fallen trees, and off haul of approximately 50 yards of debris from city trash racks and inlets to ensure water could continue flowing unimpeded.

Storm drain grate at the bottom of Bushy Dell Creek in Piedmont Park is cleared in advance of the next storm.

Residents should stay alert, avoid roads if possible, use extra caution when driving, and report issues:

Downed power lines

Call (510) 420-3000 to report downed power lines. If you see damaged power lines or electrical equipment, call (510) 420-3000 to report them to the City, then notify PG&E by calling 1-800-743-5000. Do not touch or drive over a downed power line. If you see a downed power line sparking or smoking, call 9-1-1 to report it.

Fallen trees, clogged drains, other storm damage

Call (510) 420-3050 during business hours or (510) 420-3000 after hours to report other issues. If you see clogged drains, fallen trees blocking roads, or other storm damage to city infrastructure, call the Public Works Department at (510) 420-3050 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or police dispatch at (510) 420-3000 after hours to let us know. Crews are prepared to respond rapidly.

Prepare your household
The city encourages community members to take steps before the storm arrives to prepare for possible flooding:
• Have insurance policies handy and take photos of each room in your home.
• Clean on and around your property as needed: gutters, rain downspouts, driveways, culverts, trash and debris around fences and gardens. Clear basement drains.
• Have sandbags on hand in case of flooding. Residents can get free sandbags at the city’s Corporation Yard (898 Red Rock Road) 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
• Check submersible pumps and sump pumps to make sure they are operating properly.
• Keep flashlights and spare batteries on hand in case of power failure.
• Stock up on food, water, necessary medications, pet needs, and other essential supplies in case of road closures or power outages that last for several days.

Avoid flood waters
It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters. During an intense storm, water levels and the rate at which water is flowing can change rapidly. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult, and 12 inches of rushing water is enough to carry away most cars.
• Do not walk through or allow children to play in flood waters.
• Do not drive through pooled water that you cannot see the depth of.
• Do not drive around the barriers blocking a flooded road. The road may have collapsed under that water.

Prepare for power outages
Storm damage to power lines may cause outages. Stay informed by signing up to get outage alerts from PG&E for your address by text, email, or phone. PG&E also has an online outage map, which is updated every 15 minutes.
If you experience a power outage:
• Unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent
fire hazards when power is restored.
• Leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.
• Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.

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