City of Oakland Prepares for Winter Weather, Encourages Residents and Businesses to Adopt a Drain to Prevent Flooding

Above-average rainfall and storm weather is expected this winter and spring. City residents and business owners can all prepare now.

person from behind wearing yellow rain gear oin the rain, raking leaves

Oakland, CA – The National Weather Service predicts a wetter than average winter for the region this year. The impacts of last year’s unprecedented rainfall and the current forecast highlight the importance of preparedness.

The City of Oakland has been making preparations for severe winter weather and urges residents to review the following information and resources available to them:

Every year, Oakland prepares for winter storms. Oakland Public Works (OPW) and the City of Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) crews have been making advance preparations to help mitigate weather impacts and enable crews to respond as effectively as possible to any requests for services. City crews are in the process of:

  • Cleaning storm drains, inlets, culverts and drainage structures
  • Laying down plastic tarp and sandbags in areas that have seen previous mudslides or flooding
  • Coordinating planning efforts with other agencies in the region

Volunteer with Adopt-a-Drain to Help Minimize Flooding.

Residents and businesses can help minimize flooding in their neighborhood by volunteering with the City’s Adopt-A-Drain program to keep a storm drain near their home or business free of debris. About 1,665 storm drains are currently adopted by Oaklanders, but many thousands more are waiting to be adopted. By signing up, you will receive storm notification emails before large storm events, and the City can provide rakes, brooms, dust pans, bags and other supplies. Remember: “Clear the drain before the rain.” To sign up, visit or call (510) 238-7630.

Preparedness Tips for Residents and Businesses

Simple preparation steps taken now can go a long way toward lessening 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 simple 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 them in your green bins – do not sweep them into the gutter)
  • Check the storm drain near your house and use a rake to keep it clear of debris (see Adopt-a-Drain information above.)
  • 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
  • Review your property insurance; if you don’t have flood insurance, consider getting it now – it takes 30 days to take effect
  • 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

In the event of flood conditions, please be careful and safe by avoiding walking, riding or driving across standing water.

Emergency Sandbags and Plastic Sheeting

When heavy rains are forecast, Public Works will provide emergency sandbags (up to 10) and plastic sheeting (up to 20 feet) to Oakland residents and business owners while supplies last, to help divert runoff away from buildings and to help prevent flooding and mudslides. Bring your ID to prove residency. Be prepared to fill your own bags if needed.

Locations and hours:

Municipal Service Center, 7101 Edgewater Drive

Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Drainage Services Facility, 5921 Shepherd Canyon Road

Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

How to Report Flood-Related or Storm-Related Problems

For storm-related emergencies 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, you can contact OAK 311 in other ways:



Mobile App: or OAK 311 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 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.

Please keep these numbers handy for emergencies and share them with neighbors.

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. 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

For more information on winter storm preparedness, visit


Posted: December 26th, 2023 2:33 PM

Last Updated: January 12th, 2024 3:13 PM

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