Capt. Thor Poulsen, the Public Education Officer for the Hayward Fire Department, checks in with some advice on inclement weather:
The Hayward area is being pounded by a series of powerful storms driven from the Pacific this week. The most severe is scheduled to hit on Wednesday. The intense winds and rain have already caused power outages and flooding across low-lying areas. Please take the time now to prepare in advance and assure your family a safe winter as the storm passes through.
During Severe Winter Weather, if it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood. Listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information and know what the terminology means:
Urban and/or Small Stream Flood Advisory- Alerts the public to flooding that is only an inconvenience (not life threatening) to those living in the affected area. This advisory is issued when heavy rain will cause flooding of streets and low lying areas places in urban areas. Also issued when small rural or urban streams are expected to reach or exceed bank-full.
Flood Watch- A flood is possible in your area. Those living in the flood plain are urged to be ready to take action if a flood warning is issued or observed.
Flood Warning- Flooding is occurring or is imminent in your area. Heavy rain in a widespread area can cause continued soil saturation.
Flash Flood Watch- Flash flooding is a possibility or a close watch in your area. Those in the affected area are urged to be ready to take action if a flash flood warning is issued or if flooding is observed.
Flash Flood Warning- A flash flood is occurring and signifies a dangerous situation. Very heavy rain that falls in a short period of time can lead to flash flooding, depending on local terrain, ground cover, soil saturation and initial creek conditions.
Listen to local radio and NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports. TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible. Be alert to signs of flash flooding, mudslides and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice. Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades; they are there for your safety. Prepare for the power to be out for some time.
When traveling outside your normal area, check to make sure those local areas are safe to visit and that driving conditions are safe to travel. Know what to expect and know your area’s flood risk. If unsure, call your local planning and zoning department. If you live in a flood plain, check to see if you have insurance that covers flooding. If not, find out how to get flood insurance. Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe deposit box or another secure water tight location. If forced outside, wear several layers of loose fitting, light-weight warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Have a Family Disaster Preparedness Guide ; Prepare 72 hour (minimum) kits for your home, workplace and car. Understand what and how to use the items available to you. Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home or work. When a Flood Watch is issued, identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places, a friend’s home, in another unaffected area, a motel, or a shelter.
Sand bags are available to all City of Hayward residents during rain storms free of charge (up to 12 bags). The bags are located in front of the City’s corporation yard at 24505 Soto Road. Assistance is available upon request to load the bags. If you need assistance during the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm. Monday through Friday the office can be reached at 510-881-7745. After hours residents need to call the Hayward Police Department at 510-293-7000.
For detailed, updated weather information just for your area, please see our website at: www.hayward-ca.gov Click on the red “Disaster Preparedness” button then, click on the “Severe Weather” button or contact the Hayward Fire Department Emergency Services Office for additional information at (510) 583-4948.