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Local governments and agencies urge Central Coast residents to prepare for massive storm

flood bags.jpeg
SLO County/Twitter
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SLO County has a list of places to buy sandbags ahead of rain events online at readyslo.org.

Local governments and agencies across the Central Coast are urging residents to prepare for the massive storm event underway right now. They say there’s potential for widespread damage to people and property from flooding, power outages, vehicle accidents and more.

James Blattler is the Emergency Manager for the City of San Luis Obispo.

“We have our flood response team that is out and about and prepared to patrol the city and quickly resolve issues that come up. Our emergency responders in both police and fire are also prepared to to deal with any issues that arise, but really this preparedness is a team effort with the city and the community," he said.

Blattler has a list of ways residents can prepare for and deal with heavy winds and strong rain. He recommends securing outdoor objects, avoiding creeks, putting sandbags in flood-prone areas around your home and avoiding driving as much as possible.

“If you do need to drive, definitely use caution and absolutely do not drive across flooded roadways. It only takes about 12 inches of water for a vehicle to be moved away," he said.

public works bridge map
SLO County Public Works' Rain and Storm Real-Time Data and Monitoring Website
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A screenshot from Wednesday afternoon shows water levels at bridges around San Luis Obispo.

Blattler said it’s important to have supplies in case of power outages. Another important precaution is to watch out for downed power lines.

“Never approach a downed power line, just because of the risk that's associated with it. And especially when you get those rains, if it's sitting and standing water, it's really important to stay away from that," he said.

Blattler says to call Pacific Gas & Electric’s hotline to report outages or downed power lines, and to call 911 if it’s an emergency.

He urges San Luis Obispo residents to check slocity.org/prepare for more information. For countywide resources, you can visit readyslo.org for SLO County and readysbc.org for Santa Barbara County. There are tips on how to prepare, dispatch numbers for local emergency response agencies, information on where to find sandbags and more.

Local governments and agencies are also urging people to follow evacuation warnings and orders, which are prone to happen near places like rivers, creeks and burn scars from past wildfires. Examples include the Salinas River in Paso Robles, the Alisal Fire burn scar west of Goleta and Highway 1 in Big Sur.

For information on local highway conditions, visit CalTrans District 5’s website or Twitter. Local weather conditions are online at the National Weather Service website.

The storm is forecast to fully pick up this evening.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.