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Press Release: With massive storms expected, prepare!

Matthai Chakko, Press officer, City of Berkeley
Friday January 06, 2017 - 03:14:00 PM

With storms expected to bring heavy rains this weekend, the City of Berkeley has been preparing. So should you.

  1. Clean on and around your property as needed: gutters, rain downspouts, driveways, culverts, trash and debris around fences and gardens, and clear basement drains.
  2. Check submersible pumps and sump pumps to make sure they are operating properly.
  3. Ensure you have flashlights or portable lamps and batteries on hand in case of a power failure.
  4. Program PG&E's power outage number into your phone (1-800-743-5002). This is the best number to call to find out about power outages and when the power is coming back.
  5. Berkeley residents with identification can pick up sand bags at the City Corporation Yard on 1326 Allston Way, Mon - Fri, 8am to 4pm. Residents must show I.D.
For further guidance on how to prepare, the City's Community Emergency Response Team has prepared guides on how to prepare for your pets' safety, power outages as well as a guide for floods and landslides.

Public Works staff will be working throughout heavy storms, day and night. City staff will be available to deal with downed trees or flooding affecting local homes, businesses or streets. In an emergency, they can be reached by dialing 311 on a mobile phone or landline. If outside the city, call 981-2489. Crews will be dispatched and respond as quickly as possible. 

If you see damaged power lines or electrical equipment, call 911 immediately and then notify PG&E at 1-800-743-5002. For those with cell phones, PG&E also has an online outage map

If you experience an outage, PG&E advises people to unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply 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.  

The City works year round to mitigate the impacts of the rainy season, such as Public Works' ongoing maintenance of approximately 7,000 storm drains, including inspections, cleanout and repair. The department prepares for winter rains by having "all storm days" that remove leaves by hand and with mechanical sweepers and cleans storm drains, culverts and trash rack cleaning. 

The City has also installed a number of green infrastructure projects, which temper storm water to reduce flooding while also reducing pollutants or beautifying neighborhoods.  

The City's Forestry Division prunes trees throughout the year to prepare to keep them healthy, which is critical for events like the coming storm.  

National Weather Service Forecasts indicate that further heavy storms are expected next week as well. The best way to stay safe and dry is to prepare.