San Mateo County and local towns are giving away sandbags and asking residents to remove leaves and other debris from storm drains and catch basins.
Residents are advised to contact their local public works department to find sandbags at a location near their homes. (See local contact information in Comment section below.)
Each summer, crews from public works departments countywide clear away debris, vegetation and trash from storm drains and creeks in compliance with the San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program.
"While as a program we don't really deal with flood control issues, what we do has flood control benefits," SMCWPPP spokesman Matthew Fabry said. "Municipalities are required to go out and do cleaning of the storm drain system on an annual basis," which inherently makes it easier to prevent flooding when winter arrives, he said.
California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said that crews from her agency will also be on standby throughout the duration of the storm system to clean storm drains, clear downed trees and keep the highway advisory radio and electronic message signs systems working.
"We have equipment and materials such as plows, sand and salt at the ready," Wonder said. "How much we will need to repair is dependent on what Mother Nature gives us."
Caltrans maintenance and construction employees as well as geotechnical and hydraulic engineers will be available to go out to the scene of a flood or accident and be able to appraise the damage immediately, Wonder said. Team members will then assess the extent of the damage and decide whether Caltrans workers can fix it or if they will need to get an emergency contract with a construction crew.
County residents can find winter storm tips and other information about emergency preparedness at the county Web site: http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/ .