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El Niño and El Cerrito - 2016
What is El Niño?

El Niño is an unusually strong band of warm water in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. That warm water has the potential for creating unusual weather patterns throughout the Bay Area and along the entire west coast during this winter. For the City of El Cerrito, that means a greater likelihood for more intense rain storms, where the duration and volume of rain may be heavier than normal. During these storms the City’s creeks and storm drains will likely experience substantial flows and possible flooding.

Getting prepared for El Niño is a team effort.  City crews are working hard to prepare storm drains, roadways, and City facilities for what may become a very wet winter.  This effort also requires help from El Cerrito residents and businesses.

If you are experiencing a life or property threatening emergency, call  911.

How to Get Ready for El Niño

Prepare Your Home and Property
Clean gutters and keep them clear of leaves, debris, and trash. Adopt the storm drains on your streets and keep the trash racks clear of blockages.  Creeks on private property are not maintained by the City.  If there is a creek on your property, you are responsible for maintenance and should be sure to keep the creek clear of debris in order to prevent or minimize flooding.  

The City provides up to 10 free sandbags to El Cerrito and Kensington residents and businesses that experience flooding from the public right-of-ways. 

For more information visit our webpage on Preparing for the Rainy Season.

Know Your Flood Risk
Understand your risks, then reduce them before the heavy rains start.  For more information about flooding and landslide hazards that may exist in your neighborhood, visit the California Emergency Management Agency's MyHazards website.  Purchase flood insurance if you are in a susceptible area. 

Prepare for Emergencies
Plan ahead in case you are stuck at home, can't reach your home, or lose power during a winter storm. Get your household emergency supplies in order.  Plan for food, water, medical, and personal comfort needs for  everyone in your house, and don't forget about any pets.  Be prepared for prolonged power outages with flashlights, a battery-operated radio, and extra fresh batteries. Make a family plan about how to stay in contact if you are separated.

Get helpful emergency preparedness tips and templates that you can use today from FEMA's Ready.gov website.  
And, consider taking a El Cerrito Community Response Training Program (CERT) training to better prepare yourself in the future.

Report Problems
Depending on the time of day, report blocked storm drains or creek trash racks by calling us at one of these phone numbers:
  • During normal business hours: (510) 215-4369 or e-mail. You can also call the main Public Works line at (510) 215-4382.
  • Urgent after hours number: (510) 233-1214

Learn Flood Warning Levels
Knowing how to forecast flooding will help you to prepare.  Rainfall criteria can help warn us when flooding is more likely to occur.  Learn about Flood Forecasting at the Contra Costa County website.


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