Steps for Menlo Park residents to take in preparation for overnight storm

by Linda Hubbard on January 4, 2023

Update at 4:45 pm: InMenlo weather watcher Dennis Nugent’s digital rain gauge showed 0.52″ since midnight, bringing the year-to-date too 16.11″

The significant storm that is hitting Menlo Park will be mainly a nighttime event with the heaviest rain arriving between Wednesday evening and before dawn on Thursday, with the primary flood risk occurring after dark. Crews will be monitoring water levels and equipment will be pre-positioned near the creek to facilitate quick response, but residents are urged to remain alert.

The following information is provided by the City of Menlo Park.

Heavy rain and high winds

A Flood Watch is in effect from 4:00 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 4, to 4:00 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 5.

A High Wind Warning is in effect from 4:00 a.m, Wednesday, Jan. 4, to 10:00 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 5. High winds of 20-30 miles per hour with gusts of 40-50 miles per hour can be expected. There is a high risk for downed trees and powerlines.

Report fallen trees to 650-330-6780 from 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and at 650-330-6300 after hours.

For downed power lines, or suspect another emergency situation, leave the area immediately and call 9-1-1. Then, call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Driving and vehicles

Everyone who does not need to be out is urged to stay home.

If you must go out, please do not drive through standing water — it is nearly impossible to gauge how deep it is and vehicles are easily disabled.

If you must go out, please slow down and drive defensively.

Please remember, if stop lights are out or blinking, the intersection becomes a 4-way stop.

Parking and temporary suspension of overnight parking enforcement

All drivers are asked to avoid parking near or above storm drains and inlets. This is to allow enough room for crews to access the drains and clear debris during the storm event.

Residents who live near flood-prone areas are encouraged to move their vehicle a block or two from the threatened area, if possible.

Overnight parking enforcement is temporarily suspended through the weekend (until 2:00 a.m., Monday, Jan. 9)

Get prepared

Make a plan.

Ensure you are connected to receive the proper notifications (such as SMC Alert, City news updates, and social media) for both work and home locations

Figure out your household communications plan.

Know Your Zone for evacuations.

Consider specific needs of your household to help make sure it is ready:
– Necessities like food, water and medications are stocked
– Your home is protected as best as possible from storm effects such as flooding and wind by placing sandbags
– Have your vehicle and emergency kit are ready to go, if needed

Sandbags

Over 9,000 sandbags have been distributed in preparation for this storm.

Residents can pick up sand and empty bags at the following locations. Please remember to bring a shovel.

-Burgess Park parking lot at Alma Street and Burgess Drive
-Menlo Park Fire Station No. 77 at 1467 Chilco St.
-Temporary location at Pope Street island at 222 Laurel St. (pictured above)

Storm drains

If you have a storm drain inlet near your home in the street, consider using a rake and clearing any nearby debris (leaves, tree branches, etc.) that may have accumulated around or over the grate. If possible, please place organic matter into your compost bins. This will help reduce ponding on our roadways for the next storm.

Monitor changes in the weather forecast. Follow the National Weather Service updates.

To monitor creek water levels online, visit menlopark.gov/creeklevels.

For other ways to be storm-ready, visit our website at menlopark.gov/storms.

For blocked storm drains, sink holes, landslides, levee damage and fallen trees, call Public Works at 650-330-6780 weekdays from 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and at 650-330-6300 after hours.

For gas leaks and power outages, call PG&E at 1-877-660-6789 and check their outage map online.

For sewer problems, call West Bay Sanitary District at 650-321-0384.

Please do not call 9-1-1 unless there is an imminent threat to life or other serious emergency. For general questions consider texting the city of Menlo Park at 650-679-7022.

Photos of San Francisquito Creek taken this morning and sandbag station by John Donald (c) 2023

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