Bay Area preps for biggest storm in years

Amy Hollyfield Image
ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The city of Berkeley ordered 1,800 sandbags for residents, but a third of them are already gone.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Folks who live in flood-prone areas are stacking sandbags, ahead of what could be the biggest storm to hit the Bay Area so far this year. We're expecting high winds, which will make things even worse.

The rain isn't falling yet, but people are already thinking about the storm. Tom Gibbons loaded up the bed of his pickup with sandbags for his Berkeley home.

"The big storm coming in two days is bigger than the last one and our drainage pipe is broken, so our driveway fills up like a swimming pool," said Tom Gibbons of Berkeley.

Northern California residents prepare for heavy storm

The city of Berkeley ordered 1,800 sandbags for residents. A third of them are already gone. Many people are using lessons learned from last week's storm to prepare for this one.

"When we had the big storm recently, the water came under our door. We didn't know that would happen so we thought this time we would come get some sandbags," said Jennifer Kaufman of Berkeley.

Crews are also working hard to trim trees or cut down ones that look like they are leaning and are weak. The city of Berkeley is in charge of 35,000 trees. Private companies are getting calls to check on the rest. Tree trimming companies say they are getting slammed right now with requests to deal with trees before the storm. But even as people race to prepare, they are careful to not sound unappreciative.

"If it gets in the garage, it gets in the garage. We need the rain," said Gibbons.

"We expect storms, we need the rain. It's good. Definitely need the rain so I'm glad it's coming, but I don't want our house to flood," said Kaufman.

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Reservoirs still very low despite rain

Despite recent rainfall, Northern California has a long way to go if we want to meet our water needs.

Drone video shot this month helps show exactly how low reservoirs are right now. The video shows Shasta, Trinity, Oroville, and Folsom Lakes -- all reservoirs people in Northern California rely on.

They're about 25 to 30 percent of capacity.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says 18 to 21 inches of rain over the next six months should bring us back to normal.