Preparing for a California Winter

That last big storm wasn’t all that bad everywhere, but it’s not the last of this winter season. The sunny days are a great time for homeowners to take care of some annual upkeep:

  • Check gutters and drainage systems, remove debris.
  • Collect and properly dispose of heavy leaf falls before storms occur.
  • Remove leaves and debris from storm drain inlets with a rake or shovel.
  • Use sandbags and plastic sheeting to protect flood-prone entrances to homes.

During  a storm:

  • Drive slowly and carefully, particularly where water has accumulated on roadways.
  • Do NOT call 911 to report flooding or downed trees unless it poses an immediate threat to life or safety. Instead, call the Public Works Department in your City.
  • Staying tuned to local radio and television news sources for the latest weather information. You can also get alerts of various kinds via Nixle.

A few additional suggestions:

  1. Water on streets.
    • If the water is standing, like a flooded intersection, one danger is in trying to stop quickly in the middle of it. No traction!  Another possible danger is if there’s a downed power line touching the pooled water.
    • If the water is flowing, DO NOT try walking across it. You may not be the best judge of the power of flowing water. It only needs to be stronger than one step to push you over. Just 6″ can knock you down, and 2 feet deep can wash your vehicle away.
  2. Basic readiness. Winter storms, even ones that don’t feel that serious, can help trigger power outages. Keep a flashlight, a few gallons of water, a few blankets, a first aid kit, and some food that doesn’t require heating on hand. Your cell or home phones might or might not work, so plan on a few different ways to coordinate with your family.
  3. Did we mention having a plan?
    • Emergency meeting place near home
    • Emergency meeting place away from neighborhood
    • Family members to contact (by text if possible)
    • Emergency contact if family is separated
    • Other emergency contacts
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