Preparing for the Rainy Season


If you have any questions or need additional assistance regarding rainy season preparation, please contact the Maintenance Services Division at (510) 215-4369 or by email.  If there is an emergency and City offices are closed, please contact Police Dispatch at (510) 237-3233.

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 website.
  • Consider taking a El Cerrito Community Response Training Program (CERT) training to better prepare yourself in the future.

Know Your Flood Risk and Learn Flood Warning Levels

  • 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.
  • 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.

Sand Bags Available to El Cerrito and kensington Residents and businesses

In order to help prevent flooding due to stormwater runoff from public right of ways, El Cerrito and Kensington residents and businesses can obtain up to 10 sandbags per household/business from the Recycling & Environmental Resource Center at 7501 Schmidt Lane. The sand pile and bags are available for El Cerrito and Kensington residents/businesses only. Empty bags can be picked up from the Recycling Center Office at 7501 Schmidt Lane, Monday through Sunday, 9 AM to 4:30 PM. Please bring proof of address. The sand enclosure is now in a new location inside the El Cerrito Recycling & Environmental Resource Center. You will need to fill the bags yourself, but shovels will be provided. Sand is available on a first-come first-served basis. In the event of a major predicted storm, additional sand will be made available after hours in the old location outside the Recycling Center gates. More information on flood prevention and sand bags can be found here. 

Storm Drain Grates, Catch Basins, Gutters, and Drainage Systems

If you have a storm drain grate in the street near your home or business, check it frequently during heavy rains to make sure it is not blocked with trash or leaves. Make sure that the gutter in front of your home or business is kept clear of any impediments that would restrict the flow of storm water. Cut back any vegetation that spills over the edge of the curb, clean out drain pipes underneath driveway approaches and do not allow soil, loose material, or debris to get into the gutter area. If you have a drainage system on your property, make sure it is functioning properly and that surface run off and/or roof down spouts are not directed onto your neighbors yard which could cause flooding on their property. If you observe a catch basin that is not draining or needs to be cleaned, contact the Maintenance Division at (510) 215-4369 or by email.

Maintenance of Creeks on Private Property

If you have a creek (or other open watercourse) on your property, it is your responsibility to maintain the portion that lies within your property boundary. If it contains debris or overgrown vegetation, it poses a flooding risk for you, your neighbors, and anyone living downstream from you. Please see Public Works recommended guidelines for maintaining a creek on private property.