Flood Risk Alert Called

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Cynthia Faram

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Department of  Public Works have issued a flood risk alert due to the unusual streak of  storms anticipated to hit the Bay Area this week.
Residents and businesses in low-lying flood-prone areas are  encouraged to prepare for potential flooding, and the city has put critical  departments and storm weather responders on standby in anticipation of the  storms, public utilities commission officials said.

The Department of Public Works is providing up to 10 free  sandbags, filled or unfilled, to residents. The sandbags can be picked up at  the DPW Operations Yard at 2323 Cesar Chavez Blvd. between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Monday through Sunday. Residents must show proof of residency.

Residents can call 311, the city's customer service center, for  more information about sandbags or to report clogged storm drains, catch  basins, flooding emergencies and sewer backups.

The first in a series of four storms zeroed in on the Bay Area Sunday which  means everyone should be prepared for flooding, no matter where you live.

Forecasters say each storm is stronger than the previous one.

 The National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory for  Monday with wind gusts of 40 mph in the  forecast.    

A brief break Tuesday night will soon be forgotten, as the rain will pick up and be heavy again Wednesday evening through Friday. By the end of the week, the Bay Area will be measuring the rain in inches, not only in the hills, but also in the lower areas.

NBC Bay Area's Rob Mayeda said Wednesday should be the day with the heaviest rainfall in the coastal mountains with midweek rain amounts in the 5"-10" range at this point.  Wind and rain intensity should begin throttling down later Thursday.  Friday should see scattered showers as most of the energy dives into Southern California.  With any luck, the computer models will hang on to a mainly dry Saturday forecast before another fairly strong system arrives later on Sunday

The results of these storms has the potential for flooding a lot like New Year's Day 2006, when local rivers overspilled banks and toppled trees, trapping residents and knocking out power to thousands.

Weather experts will be watching the rivers closely and you can too, with a few clicks of the mouse.

Check out this link to follow the rivers. Just put your mouse over the dot and a window will pop up with critical information. On the right side of the screen you'll see the flood stage for each river as you place your mouse over the dot. The dot will be GREEN if all is okay with that river, YELLOW as we need to start monitoring and RED if we are flooding!

Here is another link to help monitor the rivers hour by hour. And another link for Marin County's smaller streams.

The storms are coming at a bad time for the Great Highway.

The San Francisco Department of Public Works has issued a  declaration of emergency to protect a bluff along the Great Highway just  south of Sloat Boulevard.
Department of Public Works officials made the declaration Friday  to protect the roadway and the Lake Merced Wastewater Tunnel. Such a  declaration allows the department to hire contractors and purchase materials  for immediate mitigation measures, which are expected to start in the next  few weeks.

The department has already realigned the southbound lanes of the  highway south of Sloat Boulevard away from the cliff.

It also has hired firms to assess options after recent storm  surges caused more than 30 feet of the bluff to fall, eroding the hillside  close to the southbound lanes of the Great Highway.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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