Winter Storm Preparedness

December 09, 2014

By , Director, Emergency Management (831) 459-2342

The National Weather Service is forecasting a significant winter storm for the Santa Cruz area beginning on Wednesday and intensifying on Thursday. This storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall, high winds, and isolated thunderstorms and hail. The potential for wind with gusts of 35 to 40 mph (up to 60 mph at higher elevations) is likely to result in downed trees throughout the region, which may cause both road or transit delays and power outages. There is a potential for flooding of low-lying areas, as well as small creeks and streams. Flooding of large rivers is not expected. 

The UC Santa Cruz Office of Emergency Services (OES) is monitoring the situation in conjunction with other campus and local emergency personnel. Though not expected, if any significant campus operational impacts occur, they will be posted on the campus home page and communicated to the campus community. 

As the first significant storm of the winter, this is a good opportunity to review storm preparedness information and resources. During any storm event, it is important to take steps for your own safety.
  • Use caution when outdoors during high wind and thunderstorm activity. Be aware of overhead hazards such as tree limbs and power lines.
  • Never approach a downed wire, even if it is not actively arcing or sparking. Report all downed wires to 911.
  • Allow extra time during commute periods to account for wet roadways, heavy traffic, and accidents. Drive cautiously and leave extra space when following to allow for increased braking distances in wet conditions. Remember that California state law requires headlights to be on during all periods of rain.
  • Do not attempt to drive or walk through flooded areas.
  • Bicyclists and motorcyclists should use lights and wear retroreflective rain gear or vests to ensure that they are visible.
  • Take steps to prepare your home. Ensure that your gutters are clear and that any loose exterior furniture or other items which may become airborne during heavy wind are properly secured. 
  • If you have low-lying areas that are subject to flooding, take steps to mitigate these issues such as using sandbags.
  • Have flashlights and lanterns available in the event of a power outage, and be sure that they have fresh batteries.
  • Never use charcoal or propane fueled devices such as grills, heaters, or lanterns inside. These present both a fire hazard as well as a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Additional preparedness resources can be found on the OES hazard resource page for severe weather. The page includes:  
  • Links to forecast information, 
  • Local and statewide road closures, 
  • PG&E power outage status information,   
  • Local sandbag distribution sites, and
  • General preparedness information.