The wet start to the year in Menlo Park resulted in nearly 200 storm-related calls to the city and 220 tons of sand being used for sandbags by residents, according to City Manager Justin Murphy at a Jan. 24 City Council meeting.
Menlo Park has been working on storm preparedness for several years, including storm drain cleaning and inspections, a 5-year maintenance cycle on tree trimming, fully stocked sandbag stations, and street sweeping and trash removal. The city also has a Stormwater Master Plan in development.
Starting with the first floods on Dec. 31, Menlo Park's Emergency Operations Center opened virtually and the San Francisquito Creek Multi-Agency Coordination (SFC MAC) Operational Plan for Severe Storm and Flood Response was implemented, and SFC MAC coordination calls began Dec. 31.
"There's multiple departments that came together to work on various assignments," Murphy said. "Some of those assignments were above and beyond some people's typical duties of City Hall."
Murphy said city staff was at sandbag stations, and that engineering staff was out in the field monitoring creek conditions and assisting with debris removal.
The city used more than 220 tons of sand and over 11,000 sandbags during the storms, and 189 storm-related calls were made to police dispatch. These calls were mostly reporting surface street and intersection flooding, downed trees and branches, vehicle breakdowns and hazards. Menlo Park Public Works crews responded to 139 storm-related service calls.
"There's tremendous opportunities to improve," Murphy said. "(There's) lessons learned and things that can be incorporated into future events."
The city sent out a message to over 9,500 residents on Dec. 31 and sent subsequent smaller messages to residents near the creek warning them about rising water levels. The staff report delivered by Murphy was the first update on Menlo Park's storm recovery.
"While many of us were sitting at home cozy under blankets, (city staff was) out in the rain, getting their socks wet and doing the hard work for all of us," Mayor Jen Wolosin said.
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