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Public Safety

San Diego leaders urge residents to prepare for Thursday's rainfall

Rain on the windshield of a car stuck in freeway traffic in Spring Valley, Jan 19., 2017.
Angelina Dessens-Scholey
Rain on the windshield of a car stuck in freeway traffic in Spring Valley, Jan 19., 2017.
Updated: February 1, 2024 at 11:02 AM PST
Update: The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for the San Diego River at Fashion Valley. Minor flooding is forecast. A Flood Advisory was issued for the following areas: Oceanside, Carlsbad, Temecula, Vista, San Clemente, Encinitas, Poway, Ramona, Del Mar and Fallbrook. Visit NWS for updates.

Go to storm resources ⬇

San Diego city and county leaders are urging residents to prepare for the storm expected to hit the region tomorrow, as rainfall and flooding are again anticipated across the county.

In a noon briefing Wednesday, Mayor Todd Gloria said city crews have been at work since last week's rainfall clearing storm channels and assisting residents in the hardest hit communities.


Bethany Bezak, director of the city's Transportation Department, said that while less rainfall is expected this time, flooding is anticipated.

A flood watch will be in effect starting just after midnight Wednesday until 10 a.m. Friday, and high winds are also expected, according to the National Weather Service.

Gloria said an evacuation warning will be issued for residents in areas that received the brunt of the flooding last week. Those residents were advised to come up with a plan to relocate if possible and the city is also establishing a shelter at the Municipal Gym at Balboa Park.

For those that need transportation to the shelter, the city said it's teaming up with United Taxi Workers San Diego to help. Those that need a ride to the temporary shelter can call (619) 280-4444 or use the Ride United (Passenger) app. Provide your pick-up location and set the Balboa Park Municipal Gym as the drop off location.

SDUSD is also providing transportation services Thursday and Friday. Pick up times are at 9:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Encanto Recreation Center, 6508 Wunderlin Ave.
  • Mountainview/Beckwourth Library, 721 San Pascual St.
  • College-Rolando Library, 6600 Montezuma Rd.

The mayor emphasized residents are not currently being ordered to evacuate. However, should an evacuation order go into effect, San Diego police would go door-to-door to inform residents.

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department will also be deploying additional swift-water rescue teams in anticipation of flood-related emergencies.

Residents were asked to help mitigate storm impacts by sweeping trash and other debris that might collect around storms drains and gutters, and by placing their trash bins away from the curb.

Storm safety tips

  • Stay informed. Monitor television and radio for flood watches or warnings.
  • Keep your gas tank full in case of evacuation or power outages.
  • Use sandbags to divert water.
  • Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If you see a downed power line, call 911 and (800) 411-SDGE to report it. If someone has come in contact with electrical equipment, don't touch them.
  • Keep a written list of emergency contacts.
  • Make a plan in case of an emergency. Speak with family, friends and/or neighbors who can help ahead of time. If you rely on electrically operated medical equipment, make a plan for backup power.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, leave the area. Call 911 or SDG&E at (800) 611-7343.
  • Secure outdoor items to prevent them from flying away.
  • Gather supplies such as food, water and a flashlight to last at least three to five days.
  • Call 211 for information including on disaster resources available 24 hours a day in over 200 languages.

Sources: Ready.govCounty of San Diego Office of Emergency Services211 San DiegoSDG&E.

Sandbags may picked up at 11 locations throughout the city. A full listing of sandbag pickup locations and other storm-related resources can be found at

Additionally, San Diego Gas & Electric urged customers and residents to avoid any power lines that might be downed during the storm.

"Always assume a downed line is energized and stay away," SDG&E said in a statement. "Never touch a downed power line or damaged electrical equipment."

Residents were also advised against touching anyone who comes into contact with a power line, as the person might still be in contact with an electrical source. If a power line comes into contact with your car, you should stay inside the vehicle.

Anyone who sees a downed line was asked to report it by calling 911 or 800-411-SDGE.

The utility will have an increased number of crews and equipment available Thursday to restore power amid any outages.

County officials issued similar warnings ahead of Thursday's expected rainfall. Residents were advised to stay home if they could, but those who must leave home should avoid areas that could flood.

"If you live in a flood-prone area, take necessary precautions, protect your family and property, have a plan and a go kit so you are ready," County Emergency Services Director Jeff Toney said.

Among the tips county officials issued Wednesday included:

  • Avoid walking, swimming or driving through flood waters.
  • Monitor the weather and news to stay informed of the latest developments.
  • Register your cell phone at us/preparedness/alertsandiego.html to receive alerts and updates on storm conditions.
  • Evacuate immediately if told to evacuate or if you feel unsafe. Groups should discuss where to reunite if separated since phone service might not be reliable. If evacuated, disconnect all electrical appliances, turn off electricity at the panel, gas service at the meter, and water at the main valve.
  • Get to the highest level of a building if trapped. Only get on the roof if necessary and once there signal for help. Do not climb into a closed attic to avoid getting trapped by rising floodwater.
  • Make plans for different times of the day to account for when family members are at work, school, or other obligations.
  • Contact your health care provider if you are sick and need medical attention. Wait for further care instructions and shelter in place, if possible. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

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