• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Bay Area prepares for series of storms

November 27, 2012 11:55:38 PM PST
The biggest storm series of the season is heading towards the Bay Area. High winds and heavy rain are expected.

The Coast Guard says winds out of the south could gust up to 50 miles per hour near Tiburon and the Coast Guard is encouraging boat owners to check their mooring lines and make sure their covers are secured.

In northern San Rafael, leaves are falling on Tamarack Drive. Jeff Brooks says the storms tracking in from Hawaii mean it's a good time to clean out the gutters.

"Pineapple express, I've learned in the past?you don't want to consider them lightly," he said.

Out in front of his home, one of 15 crews hired by PG&E was cutting branches away from power lines.

PG&E expects the storm to cause power outages. The utility is stockpiling transformers in their East Bay yards and they're warning Marin County residents to expect the brunt of the storm.

"That means having battery operated radios flash lights on hand, having an old school corded telephone on hand ready to go because when the powers out cordless phones won't work," PG&E spokesperson Joe Molica said.

Marin County says it's been cleaning out storm drains for months, getting ready for the rainy season.

Outside Firehouse No. 2 near Fourth and Union streets in San Rafael, Linda Kruger took advantage of the free sand and sandbags that fire stations are putting out for residents. Kruger isn't expecting a flood, but she lives on a hillside and she's being cautious.

Out in San Anselmo, they have had their share of flooding but the creek is down and there are no sandbags in front of the creek-side shops.

San Rafael Fire Battalion Chief Jim Lydon says it will be the second or third storm in this series that will be the ones to watch.

"It's the timing, I believe, of the storms that could produce significant runoff," he said.

Water district uses webcams to track creeks

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is using a network of webcams to monitor critical creeks and rivers around the county. Water managers and the public can see where storm drains are getting clogged and alert crews so they can clear debris.

The webcams in Los Gatos, Sunnyvale and Morgan Hill refresh every five minutes and are watched closely in storm conditions:

"It can be amazing how quickly a creek can overflow and cause a lot of street flooding, cause a lot of damage, when there's blockage in one of these trash racks," spokesperson Marty Grimes said.

The water district hopes residents will be proactive in both monitoring the webcams and cleaning leaves and other debris that can clog storm drains.

Christmas tree lots tie down trees ahead of storm

Incoming storms have workers hunkering down at Christmas tree lots across the Bay Area.

At one lot in San Francisco, workers have already started tying down trees so they won't topple over in the high winds. They're also laying down the tallest trees, but they won't close up shop because of the storm.

Workers say they're used to being out in wintery weather and they'll set up tents so families can still get their Christmas trees.

Oakland handing out sandbags

In Oakland, the public works department is handing out sandbags and clearing debris from storm drains and creeks.

There's also a call for volunteers to help keep the drains clear once the storm hits, so city crews can head to where they're needed most.

Sandbags are available from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. at fire stations across Oakland.


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