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Emergency personnel are preparing for potential flooding and electrical hazards

Emergency personnel are preparing for potential flooding based on past events. For example, Highway 101 was forced to shut down for several hours back in December 2021.
Posted at 7:01 PM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-03 22:56:13-05

First responders in San Luis Obispo are working around the clock preparing for weather-related emergencies.

The City of San Luis Obispo is monitoring the potential for flooding based on past events. For example, Highway 101 was forced to shut down for several hours back in December 2021.

The creeks are also a common place where water can accumulate.

“We anticipate flooding can occur anywhere near our creek system, so we have numerous creeks going through the city, so if you live near one of those or you’re traveling near one of those be hypervigilant and be aware that those waters could rise fast,” said James Blattler, City Of San Luis Obispo Emergency Manager.

With flooding a possibility, the City of San Luis Obispo is preparing.

“The City of San Luis Obispo is making sure we have the right size staffing to meet the demand of the anticipated storm,” Blattler explained. “The public works and utilities department does a fantastic job working all hours of the night with their storm patrol, so they’ll be looking at their staffing levels, and we’ll also be looking at emergency response staff levels. ”

Having a wet December does not help.

“We’ve already had a lot of rainfall in the past several weeks, and the ground is well-saturated, and so that means those floodwaters are going to raise a lot faster than they would if it hadn’t rained in a long time,” Blattler added. 

For San Luis Obispo, electrical issues are the most common weather-related emergency.

“Whenever we do see a storm, we see an uptick in calls for service, and a lot of times, especially with wind events, there can be electrical hazards, so downed powerlines. We advise if you ever see a downed powerline assume that it is charged and report it immediately by calling 911,” Blattler said.

Power outages turned out to be a big concern for thousands of residents across San Luis Obispo County last month.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reported more than 40 outages in San Luis Obispo alone.

“PG&E is preparing by staging crews, making sure we have crews ready to respond to power outages that are caused by trees, tree limbs and other debris falling onto powerlines,” said PG&E Communications Representative Carina Corral. “In advance of the storm, our vegetation management crews are really busy working to get the tree limbs away from the power line.”

PG&E recommends being prepared in advance for any power outages.

“Just ensure that your cellphones and your laptop are charged ahead of time, use generators safely, so if you are using backup generators, just ensure that they are working properly by licensed electricians,” Corral said. “We really encourage customers to use flashlights and not candles during an outage because candles can cause fire hazards. Also, make sure you have fresh water. ”

Blattler said the city is proactively reaching out to homeless individuals living near or in the creeks, so they are aware of the potential for flooding.

To learn more tips on how to prepare for a storm or to find out if you live in a flood-prone area, click here.

To monitor a PG&E outage, click here.