Fingers Crossed On Winter Storms

Keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best this long weekend.  The good news is that winter-like storms have finally arrived and we desperately need the rains.  The bad news is that Oakland’s city services are effectively closed through next Monday – and we may need help responding to Mother Nature’s wrath.

After The Rain

Montclarions know that torrential rains can translate into downed trees, mudslides, floods and general mayhem.  We’re already hearing about backed-up storm drains around town, and the weather’s supposed to get more severe tomorrow.

Each year, there seems to be a calamity or two around here.  Most recent messes include the Skyline slide, which blocked the ridge line and took months to fix; and the Shepherd Canyon sinkholes, which caused severe flooding from culverts that needed replacement.

Yesterday there were no grand-scale problems, but many neighbors reported storm drain blockages around the Village.  We think the biggest problem was street flooding near Taurus/Valley View, in the Merriewood area.

It’s a busy time for Oakland Public Works, although the department is now closed.  Locals are advised to call 510-615-5566 to report problems, and calls will be picked up by the Fire Department dispatch.  If the problem is considered an emergency, Public Works will send a crew to the scene.

Montclarion Barry Klezmer sought help for a storm drain yesterday.  “Our area does not have gutters or sidewalks,” he explained.  “The storm drain that is backed-up to the street level was to due the recent excessive rain that triggered a flow of mud and tree/leaf debris.”  City workers are scheduled to arrive next Tuesday.

Over the long weekend, Public Works simply can’t handle non-emergency storm drainage or tree matters.  It seems like you are on your own, so please check nearby drains and try to clear out debris.  You can also pick up free sandbags as well, at your nearby Fire Station.

With the additional stormy weather ahead, we’re wondering whether these minor problems will turn into emergencies.  We’re also wondering if there are enough emergency crews available now.  Just keep those fingers crossed this time.

Ready For Winter Storms?

Well, the rains really kicked us hard yesterday.  When you drove around town, you could see the flooding beyond the culverts.  The rivers were particularly strong as you headed down the steeper streets.

Last night, some 4,100 households experienced a power outage too.  This happened around 11:00pm, which disrupted key TV viewing – no worries, since you can view the Saturday Night Live clips on Hulu.

With this wake-up call, it’s time to get ready for the winter storms and protect your castles.  Oakland Public Works is providing materiel for local residents, before the floods arrive.

Come with proof of residency and your household is entitled to pick up 20 sandbags and plastic sheeting free from Public Works, on Shepherd Canyon Rd (map).  You may also stop by local fire stations for five sandbags, when there’s bad weather ahead.  All these locations are open weekdays from 8:00am – 9:00pm, and weekends from 8:00am – 4:30pm.

According to Public Works, residents can help prevent floods by keeping drainages clear.  They recommend that you:  check and clean private drainage systems; do not place leaves, debris or lawn clippings near storm drains; and place leaves and green trimming in your green cart for weekly recycling pickup.

Oaklanders have been making strides to keep the creeks and drainages cleared out.  On the Creek to Bay Day, in September, some 1364 volunteers showed up city-wide to collect garbage and green waste.  There’s another program to Maintain-A-Drain, where volunteers lay claim to their very own drains and help prevent flooding as well.

Still, we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature.  If you do see any flooding or storm drain problems, please reach Public Works at (510)-615-5566.  Public Works staff picks up the phone weekdays from 8:00am – 4:30pm, while the line is forwarded to Fire Dispatch after hours.