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Public Safety

City says residents should 'prepare, take precautions' ahead of weekend storm

The calendar says it’s spring, but a cold, wet storm is headed for San Diego this weekend. KPBS reporter John Carroll has more on when it will get here, and how much precipitation it may leave behind.

San Diego city officials on Friday encouraged residents to "prepare and take precautions" ahead a Pacific storm system forecast for the region that will start tonight and last through the weekend.

In a news release, the city said up to 2 inches of rain is expected over the next three days.

Before rain falls, the city's Storm Patrol — made up of dozens of teams from the Transportation and Stormwater departments — will be sent out to clean storm drains and inlets with a history of debris buildup, officials said. Crews will also sweep streets to reduce trash and pollutants from entering waterways, they added.


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.

In the interest of residential safety, officials said the city may close flood-prone roads along the San Diego River before the storm arrives.

During the rain, Storm Patrol teams will monitor pump stations and more than 46,000 storm drains throughout the city for any issues. They will also respond to reported incidents of flooding, and downed trees or branches.

Residents may report storm-related problems or issues by calling the city's Public Works Dispatch at 619-527-7500 or using the Get It Done app.

The city said residents can prepare ahead of time and lower flooding risks by taking these steps:

  • Sweep and pick up trash, leaves, grass clippings or other debris that collect around storm drains and curb gutters near a home;
  • Keep trash and recycle bin lids securely closed on when putting them out for pick-up, and keep each bin 2 to 3 feet away from the curb to hindering storm water flow on the street;
  • Proactively turn off irrigation to save water and minimize runoff;
  • Know the safest routes to and from their home or property, if flooding happens;
  • Slow down and do not drive, ride or walk through flood waters; and
  • Do not open or lift manhole covers in the event of street flooding.

There are limited number of filled sandbags will be available today for people impacted by the Jan. 22 storm and flooding. Those residents may pick up sandbags until 7 p.m. at the Mountain View Recreation Center, also the site of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Recovery Center, and the Encanto Recreation Center.


For those living elsewhere in the city or businesses, empty sandbags are available at select recreation centers during operating hours and are limited to 10 bags. However, sand is not provided.

Sandbag locations are:

  • Council District 1, Pacific Beach Recreation Center, 1405 Diamond St. ;
  • Council District 2 (inland), North Clairemont Recreation Center, 4421 Bannock Ave. and (coastal) Robb Field Athletic Area, 2525 Bacon St.;
  • Council District 3, Golden Hill Recreation Center, 2600 Golf Course Drive;
  • Council District 4, Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center, 6401 Skyline Drive;
  • Council District 5, Scripps Ranch Recreation Center, 11454 Blue Cypress Drive;
  • Council District 6, Standley Recreation Center, 3585 Governor Drive;
  • Council District 7, Allied Gardens Recreation Center, 5155 Greenbrier Ave.
  • Council District 8, San Ysidro Community Activity Center, 179 Diza Road or Southcrest Recreation Center, 4149 Newton Ave.; and
  • Council District 9, City Heights Recreation Center, 4380 Landis St.

Recreation centers are open seven days a week; residents should contact the individual site for hours of operation. More information and storm preparation resources are available on the city's website.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.