Winter Storm Preparedness

October 13, 2016

The National Weather Service is forecasting the first winter storm of the year for the Santa Cruz area beginning on late Thursday night and continuing through Saturday, accompanied by High Surf and Coastal Flooding Advisories. This storm is expected to bring up to an inch of rain and winds gusting up to 24 mph.  Drier than normal weather over the past several years may had had a negative impact on tree root systems, increasing the potential for 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 and dangerous road conditions. 

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.