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

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: