A storm is coming. Here's how San Diegans should prepare.
The county urges residents to plan ahead, sign up for alerts and receive storm alerts
San Diego County and California leaders are urging residents to prepare for this coming storm, advising residents to stay indoors if they can and avoid areas prone to flooding if they leave.
The storm comes as many San Diego residents are still recovering from devastating flooding on Jan. 22.
“If you live in a flood-prone area, take the necessary precautions to protect your family and property, have a plan and go-to kit so you're prepared,” said County Emergency Services Director Jeff Toney.
Storm Safety Tips
San Diego County officials advise these tips to stay safe:
- Follow the weather and news to stay updated on the latest developments
- Register Here's your cell phone To receive alerts and updates on storm conditions
- Leave immediately if asked to leave or feel unsafe. Groups must discuss where to reconnect if separated because phone service is unreliable. If evacuated, disconnect all electrical equipment, turn off power at panel, gas service at meter and water at main valve.
- If stuck go to the highest level of the building. Climb onto the roof only if necessary, and once there, signal for help. Do not climb into the covered storey to avoid getting caught in the rising flood.
- Avoid walking, swimming or driving in flood waters
- Make plans for different times of the day to account for when family members are at work, school, or other obligations
- Contact your healthcare provider if you are ill and need medical attention. If possible, wait for further care instructions and accommodation. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911
The county urges residents to microchip their pets, have an evacuation plan for those animals, and not chain pets outside during storms.
What to do to prepare for a storm?
Help prevent flooding
- Sweep up debris, leaves, grass clippings, and other debris that collects around storm drains and drains near your home.
- Place sandbags where necessary
- Keep lids securely on trash and recycle bins when putting them out on the street for collection. Place each bin about two to three feet apart on the curb so as not to interfere with rainwater running down the street.
- Stop irrigation to conserve water and reduce runoff
- Manhole covers should not be opened or lifted when the street is flooded
Plan an exit strategy
- Visit FEMA Flood Map Service Center Access a range of other flood risk products to find your official flood map and tools to better understand flood risks.
- Know the safe routes to your home or property in case of flooding
- Sign up Warning San Diego Notifications for all your phone numbers
- Do not slow down, drive, ride or walk in flood waters
Important online resources to keep you prepared
- San Diego is ready – Resource website for emergency preparedness in San Diego County.
- Ready (Federal) – A federal campaign to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies such as natural and man-made disasters.
- Flood preparedness – California Department of Water Resources page to help residents prepare for flooding
- California Office of Emergency Services – A California state website that provides information about potential natural hazards in your area, such as earthquakes, fires, floods and tsunamis.
Residents can report incidents of flooding or downed trees using the Get It Done app or by calling 619-527-7500. If this is a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
Where can I get sandbags?
On Thursday, San Diego city workers and park rangers were seen handing out sandbags at a park near Encanto. Officials estimate they've made at least 1,000 deliveries so far, with residents loading up their cars.
Many cities and companies offer free sandbags to residents.
For a full list of locations, click here.
NBC 7's Jeanette Quezada breaks down tips for drivers if you must drive during tomorrow's storm.
Motorists are advised to avoid driving in standing water
CHP officers responded to more than 1,800 calls during last week's storm, 700 more than the previous week.
Drivers are urged to avoid flooded areas and, if not possible, to drive with extreme caution in standing water. Also, before you drive, check your route before setting off so you can be aware of any road closures. Then, once you hit the road, make sure your headlights and windshield wipers are on — And slowly!
“… Slow down, be patient, and then pay attention to road conditions,” Caltrans Division Chief Shawn Rizzuto told NBC 7. “You can't go the speed limit. Whenever you're in the rain, you have to slow down. So, there's hydroplaning, all of that. Make sure your car is in good running condition. That's another matter. If you have tires that don't have good tread, you don't have good traction.”
Anlleyn Venegas, an expert with AAA, said drivers should not drive through standing water.
“Driving in flooded areas or highways can actually damage someone's vehicle, but it can also put them at risk, and most of the time it's hard to tell how deep the water is on the road, so don't drive on major roads that are covered in water,” Venegas said.
A simple rule of thumb: if you encounter a flooded road, turn around or back off if possible. If you've gone too far and your vehicle won't start, call 911 and wait for help to arrive.
Caltrans will begin 24/7 storm patrols with crews on Wednesday, urging county residents to call 911 if they encounter a flooded roadway.
Storm shelters for flood victims in San Diego County
A storm shelter for victims of the January 22 historic flood has been relocated to the San Diego City Gym in Balboa Park.
Anyone seeking shelter from the weather is welcome, according to the county.
The shelter offers lodging, food, snacks, crisis counseling, medication transfer assistance and pet support from the San Diego Humane Society.
Previously, those in need were housed in the Lincoln High School shelter, but they were recently moved to that gymnasium.
City of San Diego Municipal Gym in Balboa Park
- 2111 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
- (619) 525-8262
As of 4:30 p.m., Feb. 3, these are the only road closures.
- Avenida del Rio, on Camino de la Reina near the San Diego River Crossing
As the region braces for a second storm, it's especially dangerous for homeless communities across the country, especially those living along the San Diego River. NBC 7's Amber Frias reports.
Support for homeless river dwellers ahead of storm
Many homeless people living along the San Diego River are still struggling from last week's flooding.
“Some of my friends almost drowned because it came so fast,” one said.
The flood occurred within minutes and quickly rose to waist level.
“You can see where the water came from,” said Sarah Hutmacher of the San Diego River Foundation, pointing to a tent. “Halfway down that tent is a weird water channel. [And] There is still water in the tent.
Many of the homeless survivors of last week's floods left behind IDs and documents needed to get to shelters along with their medications. Hutmacher worked with homeless outreach workers from PATH this week to make sure that doesn't happen again.
Crews are going up and down the river to warn as many residents as possible of the approaching storm.
While those preparations won't be necessary on Monday, forecasters expect another wet week in our immediate future.
City News Service contributed to this report – Ed.