For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, PIO, City Manager's Office, (510) 981-7008

BERKELEY STORM WARNING
Heavy rains may coincide with high tides; West Berkeley residents warned to prepare for possible flooding

<#text>Berkeley, California (Wednesday, January 02, 2008) -

"High tides always up the ante for us during major storms,” said Deputy City Manager Lisa Caronna. “We have been preparing for this storm season, but it’s still important for residents to be prepared and aware of what is happening around them.”

The City of Berkeley maintains 7,000 storm drains, and inspects most, if not all, of those drains annually. During September and October, extra crews were brought on to clean storm drains, clear leaves, and clean trash racks. Leaf and debris trucks also target vulnerable commercial areas before the storm season, and many volunteers and contractors also help keep drains clear through the fall and winter. In addition, street sweeping has expanded into some areas that had previously been exempt.

"We have done a lot of work since the storm in 2005, but Berkeley's proximity to the Bay is still a challenge," said Public Works Director Claudette Ford. "Even if drains are perfectly clear, if the tide is too high, the storm water will likely back up onto City streets."

Berkeley residents can prepare by:

  • Clearing debris out of storm drains. Join the City's Adopt-A-Drain program and receive supplies and information to help you do this. (http://www.cityofberkeley.info/pw/Storm/adopt.html or 981-6300)

  • Picking up sandbags at the Corp Yard and at all fire stations except for Fire Station #1. A list of fire stations can be found at (http://www.cityofberkeley.info/fire/contact.html)

  • High winds are also expected in this storm. PG&E advises that if you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and keep yourself and others away. Call 911 immediately to report the location of the downed line, then 1 (800) 743-5002, PG&E's 24-Hour Emergency and Customer Service Line. 

  • If you see flooding, day or night, please call 981-6620. Give Customer Service all the information you can: an address or cross street, for example, and any other hazards that you see, like fallen trees, wires, or other debris in the roadway.

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