Superlocal Rain and Weather

When the severe weather arrives, we are always trying to gauge what’s happening right in the Oakland Hills.  Somehow reports from Oakland’s airport or other Bay Area locales doesn’t cut it.

The superlocal weather stations are currently reporting through Wunderground online.  Enter your address, and the site returns the nearest reporting location to you.

Or click to see live and historical weather at these locations:   Indian Way — Joaquin Miller — Piedmont Pines — Above Thornhill.

As you are probably aware, there’s a hazardous weather warning  issued by the National Weather Service for the Bay Area.  We assume you have already battened down the hatches.

Yes, the rains and floods do happen this time of year.  Remember to pay attention and clear nearby storm drains of debris and leaves — whether you have officially adopted a drain or not.

To protect your turf, come and pick up sandbags and plastic sheeting at the Public Works’ satellite office:  5921 Shepherd Canyon Road.  If you are experiencing storm-related damage, then make sure to call Oakland’s Public Works Call Center at (510) 615-5566 for emergency help.

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Rains: So Far, So Good?

In our Montclair neighborhoods, we are seeing the expected overflows from a rainstorm.  So far, so good in my local hills…but yours may be behaving differently.

From this first image, you can see the smaller streams heading downhill.  Like other well-known spots in Montclair, Valley View always produces some overflows when it rains. This particular storm drain just can’t take the load.

Hills Overflow 1 - Oct 13, 2009

During more intense storms, the water simply follows gravity and cascades down the streets.  In this second image, you see the sheeting effect of the water. The temporary river is many times wider than the open ditch on the roadside, which only channels a small stream.

Hills Overflow 2 - Oct 13, 2009

While this flooding is typical, we’re not sure how everyone is faring in the hills. There could be water-logged spots that are now causing more severe damage, with continued storming. Meanwhile the crews are out in force, trying their best.

October 14th Update: We’re experiencing a power outage in the northern reaches of Montclair. Last night, a tree fell and left a Merriewood street light dangling in mid-air. Neighbors heard the transformer blow and still await power restoration. (This update comes from a blackberry.)

Mother Nature Paying A Visit

Mother Nature is arriving in all her glory, on Monday through Tuesday night.  With monsoon rains as well as winds that could top out at 45-60 MPH, take a little time to prepare for her arrival in the Oakland Hills.

Here is a copy of the Tuesday forecast from the National Weather Service, which says the storm isn’t Armageddon but still presents a real threat.  It turns out to be the vestiges of a typhoon, which hit Japan a few days ago.

NWS Forecast, 1181 Ft

What The National Weather Service Says

The National Weather Service (NWS) is blowing all three horns loudly about the intensity of stormy weather ahead, with several warnings.

  • High Wind Watch – NWS forecasts high winds from late Tuesday night through Wednesday night, with “wind speeds increasing to 20 to 40 MPH along the coast and in the hills by early Tuesday morning.  Gusts to 60 MPH are possible in these areas.”
  • Special Weather Statement – NWS said that “in the hills, rainfall amounts could range from 3 to 6 inches.”  They also warn against mud and debris flows, flooding of small streams, power outages from downed trees, and slippery driving conditions.
  • Hazardous Weather Outlook – NWS chimed in again about the blustery storm, forecasting “strong and gusty winds [which] are expected to continue through the day Tuesday and begin tapering off after midnight Tuesday night.”

What You Can Do Today Or Tomorrow

What does this mean for Montclarions?  Batten down the hatches, of course!

There are going to be high winds. You can expect a few elderly Pines to topple around here.  So make sure you are equipped for a power outage, whether that means batteries, flashlights, water, sustenance, etc.  You have been through this drill before, but it’s been a little while.

There are flood and mudslide risks. To prevent damage, take a look around your property before the storm hits us.  You might see some debris to clear from your home gutters, and do that now.  Or there might be some problem areas underfoot, so get a few sandbags or plastic sheets from the nearest fire station (or Shepherd Canyon’s Public Works, which usually has a good supply).

On the streets themselves, offer up your prayers.  We have plenty of creeks and old culverts and, well, you never know what will happen.  On a slightly more practical note, at least step into your street and check the drainages – and remove obvious blockages to protect your nearby castles.

If you live here, then you know its a small (or large) price to pay.  It’s not all bad, as Fire Season should be over now.