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Storm Advisory – January 25, 2021

Posted on January 25, 2021

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect from January 26, 4 PM until January 28, 4 PM, and a High Wind Watch is in effect from January 26, 7 PM until January 27, 10 AM.

A moderate “atmospheric river” will impact the region Tuesday through Thursday bringing prolonged periods of moderate to heavy rain along with gusty south winds. The brunt of the storm is forecast to occur between Tuesday evening through Wednesday.

The California-Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC) is predicting the highest intensity of this storm to be within the North Bay between 4 PM on Tuesday, January 26 to  to 4 AM Wednesday, January 27 where upwards to 2.3 inches of rain is expected around San Rafael.  More at higher elevations.

Impacts from the heavy rains may include rapid ponding of water in urban areas, and low lying areas with poor drainage, as well as slides or wash outs in areas of steep terrain.

Impacts from the high winds include fallen trees and power lines, resulting in widespread power outages are possible and road closures. Travel could be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.

How to Prepare for the Storm

Secure garbage cans, lawn furniture or anything that could become airborne and cause damage. Clean out gutters, storm drains, etc. (keeping drains clear of trash, leaves and branches) so rainwaters can easily flow, reducing possible flooding and ponding. Visit DPW’s Storm Readiness and Response page for more information and helpful resources for storm events.

Power Outages/Downed Power Lines

Residents are advised of possible downed trees and power lines. Report downed power lines by calling 9-1-1 and PGE at 1-800-743-5002. Stay away from the downed powerlines and assume they are energized and dangerous.

Monday – Friday – 7:00 am – 4:00 pm call Public Works: 415-485-3355
After hours, call SRPD Dispatch (24/7): 415-485-3000
*To report a downed powerline, call PG&E at 1-800-743-5002

If the power goes out:

  • Do not call 9-1-1 unless you are having a life-threatening emergency
  • Check the PG&E Outage Map for updates
  • Monitor local news for information and updates – local AM radio stations are a good source of information
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows
  • Do not use a gas stove to heat your home
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges
  • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices
  • If safe, go to an alternate location for heat
  • Check on your neighbors


If your property can be protected by sandbags, please consider getting them BEFORE the rains. Click here for a video on how to use sandbags. Sand and sandbags may be located at the following locations:
  1. Fire Station 55 – 955 Point San Pedro Road
  2. Terra Linda Community Center – 670 Del Ganado Road
  3. Menzies Parking Lot – 1428 Mission Avenue

Please note: These locations have limited stockpiles of sand and sandbags for emergency use during the rainy season. To use these stockpiles, you must supply your own labor, shovels and support. The safety of San Rafael residents is the first priority of City work crews, and that replenishing the sand pile and bags may become a lower priority during a storm event. If you have questions or comments please call the Fire Department at 415-485-3304.

Drive with Caution

When driving in the rain, exercise extreme caution, obey the speed limits, and follow other traffic at a safe distance. Remember, if you turn on your windshield wipers, turn on your headlights.


Please also be aware that the amount of precipitation expected will greatly increase the potential for mudslides on steeper terrain. If you see significant runoff on a slope that is not typically used for drainage, it could be due to a blockage or diversion of water from its regular course somewhere upstream. Please report these instances to Public Works at (415) 485-3355.

Helpful tips:

  • Check to make sure you have batteries, fully charged back-up battery packs for your devices, and a battery powered radio
  • Recharge your laptop computer, cell phone, and other mobile devices as a precaution against a power outage
  • Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member
  • Freeze water bottles or bags of water for food storage if the power goes out
  • Have enough nonperishable food and water
  • Make sure you can open your garage door if the power goes out

How to Stay Informed










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