With an "atmospheric river" set to hit the Bay Area starting Sunday, the National Weather Service on Friday issued a flash flood watch for parts of the region, particularly areas that burned in wildfires last year.
The flood watch will be in effect from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday in the North Bay, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and 5 p.m. Sunday to 4 a.m. Monday in Monterey County, according to the weather service.
Heavy rainfall -- forecasters are predicting several inches of rain Sunday and Monday in some areas -- could lead to debris flows and flash floods, particularly in areas that burned in fires sparked by lightning storms in August 2020.
Jonathan Cox, deputy chief of Cal Fire's San Mateo Division, said Friday that rainy weather coming through the region this past week has helped quell immediate concerns over any new major wildfires starting and "is very welcome for a lot of reasons."
However, the burn scars from the CZU Lightning Complex fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties last year are among the areas under the flood watch as the larger storm descends on the region this weekend.
"It's good news for the fact that it will reduce the wildfire risk, but any change in the weather will have another set of risks," Cox said.
Cal Fire and other first responder agencies in the two counties are encouraging people to check Zonehaven, a platform that helps communicate real-time evacuation information to the public and divides areas into evacuation zones. People can look up their address to find out their zone at community.zonehaven.com/.
Along with knowing their evacuation zone, Cox recommended that people in both San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties sign up for their respective county's emergency alert systems to receive text or voice messages in the event of an emergency.
Sandbags are available for pickup 24/7 for unincorporated San Mateo County residents at the following locations, free of charge (limit 15):
-Grant corporation yard: 752 Chestnut Road, Redwood City; 650-363-4103
-La Honda corporation yard: 59 Entrada Way, La Honda; 650-747-0341
For storm preparedness tips and information on the proper use of sandbags, visit publicworks.smcgov.org/storm-preparedness.