With the National Weather Service forecasting heavy rain and high winds on Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning, the City of Oakland is preparing for additional flooding, debris flows, and downed trees. City of Oakland Public Works (OPW) crews continue to work through a backlog of 311 requests due to the recent rains and will continue to prevent, mitigate, and respond to stormy weather impacts. The City has distributed 15,000 free sandbags since Sunday.
OPW is identifying specific issues that can be addressed to reduce additional impacts, including clearing drains, inlets, and catch basins. They are also in open contact with Alameda County Flood Control, who manages the flood gates at Lake Merritt, to monitor and address conditions there as well.
The City is notifying hundreds of Adopt a Drain volunteers – and ALL residents and businesses in Oakland – to encourage them to clear storm drains by raking away leaves when it’s safe to do so, use sandbags to divert water away from property, and take other preparatory steps to prevent flooding and other impacts. A little volunteer effort goes a long way in helping Oakland maintain more than 13,000 storm drains to reduce flooding and other negative weather impacts. Please go to https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/winter-storms for more information.
Throughout the New Year’s Eve holiday, the City received hundreds of reports of storm-related emergency issues on public property and in the public right-of-way, such as flooding, mudslides, and landslides. City staff are not able to respond to every issue immediately; however, issues affecting public safety are given top priority. If you see any such emergencies occurring, please report them immediately by calling OAK 311. Dial 311 from any phone within Oakland or dial 510-615-5566.
Preparedness Tips for Residents and Businesses
Simple preparation steps taken now can lessen the impact of weather-related and other emergencies. Members of the public should review their emergency plans and prepare their families, homes, and vehicles. Here are some suggested steps:
- Clear your gutters and downspouts; ensure downspouts are working and pointing away from your house
- Keep your curbs and sidewalk gutters clear of leaves and debris (and please dispose of in your green bins – not sweep them into the gutter)
- Check the storm drain near your house and use a rake to keep it clear of debris (see the City of Oakland’s Adopt-a-Drain program.)
- Check that backflow prevention devices on sewer laterals/cleanouts are functioning properly – or consult a plumber to have one installed.
- Trim trees on your property to help them handle wind and rain; call a certified arborist to inspect your trees if you observe unusual leaning or dead branches
- Check out your local hardware store for flood prevention tools and techniques such as using sandbags to divert water away from your property or prevent it from coming in through doors and basement windows
- Check in with friends, family and neighbors who may need assistance during extreme weather
- Pack a “go bag” to evacuate quickly
- Have insurance policies handy (tip: take photos of each room in your home beforehand).
- Review emergency procedures and evacuation plans at your children’s schools
- Make sure you have emergency supplies to last for at least three days, including enough water, food, medicine and other supplies for family members and pets
Resources for Residents and Businesses
Open Public Facilities
For residents who need a temporary refuge from the wet weather, or for those experiencing a power outage, all 18 public library locations are open and have power. For Tues-Weds this week, the hours are 10am-8pm (Eastmont and AAMLO close at 5:30pm), on Thursday the hours are 10am-5:30pm (Main Library is open until 8pm).
Shelter Beds Available
The City’s year-round shelter at St. Vincent de Paul, located at 675 23rd Street in West Oakland, has beds available for the homeless tonight. Shelter beds can be secured through referral, reservation, and walk-up on a first come-first served basis. Persons seeking shelter should contact St. Vincent de Paul directly at (510) 638-7600. MACRO teams are also conducting outreach to Oakland's unhoused community members to offer available shelter to those interested as the City works to stand up more solutions.
There are some additional spaces at community cabins and other shelters throughout Oakland. For Information on accessing other shelters, transitional housing and all other emergency housing in Alameda County, please call 211 (Eden Information and Referral).
Food Resources Available
Alameda County Food Bank can help connect people to sources for groceries or a hot meal. Call the helpline at 510-635-3663, or visit FoodNow.net The hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm.
How to Report Flood-Related or Storm-Related Problems
Please keep these numbers handy for emergencies, and share them with neighbors:
For storm-related emergency issues on public property and in the public right-of-way (such as flooding, mudslides, landslides, and manholes overflowing onto streets and sidewalks), contact OAK 311. Dial 311 from any phone within Oakland or call 510-615-5566.
For non-emergencies, OAK 311 can also be contacted in other ways:
Mobile App: https://seeclickfix.com/us-ca-oakland or OAK 311, available in the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Androids
For downed power lines or if you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately and then call 9-1-1 or PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
For power outage alerts go online to pge.com/outage alerts.
For water service emergencies (e.g., no water service, broken hydrants, broken water main pipes), contact EBMUD at 1-866-403-2683.
For life-threatening emergencies, call 9-1-1 from a land line or (510) 777-3211 from a cell phone.
For non-emergency community resource referrals, call 211 anytime or text 898211 Monday through Friday between 9am and 4pm for assistance.
Staying safe during the Storm
In the event of flood conditions, please be careful and safe by avoiding walking, riding or driving across standing water.
If possible, stay indoors and off the road. If you need to travel anywhere, be extra cautious: slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and allow ample stopping distance between you and the cars and other vehicles in front of you.
Stay up to Date on Emergencies and Public Safety
The public is encouraged to subscribe to AC Alert to receive emails and text messages. The system allows subscribers to provide up to five locations, such as a school, home, work and an elder dependent’s address. That way, subscribers will receive updates when an emergency alert impacts one of their self-identified locations.
AC Alert is a unified emergency notification system for Alameda County residents, businesses and visitors. An AC Alert subscription is free, and all residents and business owners are strongly encouraged to sign up. For more information about this system and to find out how to participate, please visit www.acalert.org.