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First rain of the season can cause runoff, slippery roadways

Posted at 5:41 PM, Nov 20, 2019

After nearly six months, San Luis Obispo experienced it's first rain Tuesday night.

However, rain runoff can bring some challenges to the community after being dry for so long.

"We're not expecting flood events from next week's rain events but we will see runoff from the event. We will see a higher pollutant load in the creek system,” said Matt Horn, deputy director, City of San Luis Obispo Public Works.

The first rainfall can also impact drivers on the roads.

"They haven't had any moisture these last few months, so what you're probably going to see is some of that soot and debris that's in the road, getting picked up by that water and roads can be a little slippery when that happens,” said Joshua Roberts, transportation division manager, County of San Luis Obispo.

Pollutants that have built up over time with dry weather can get picked up in the run-off, in the beginning of each rainy season.

The City of San Luis Obispo sent out a reminder to residents, with tips to help prepare for the first flush.

Pick up after your pet, keep the area in front of your home clean, pick up and dispose of trash and debris in the gutter, and do not apply pesticides or fertilizers to your lawn before it rains.

Years of being in a drought still has lingering effects here in San Luis Obispo County.

”We've seen a lot of downed trees these last few winters, last year in particular was a very high year of downed trees,” said Roberts.

City officials say San Luis Obispo is doing their part to limit runoff into the nearby waters.

"We've removed 66 tons of organic material, dirt, trash, material that just gets lodged in there. So that's 66 tons of material that's not going into the pacific ocean, just due to this year's annual work program,” said Horn.

Roberts says areas like creeks and washes that usually don't see a lot of water throughout the year can be susceptible to flooding.

If anyone comes across this situation, he says don't drown, turn around.

The City of San Luis Obispo says when they expect heavier rain, they will supply sand for residents looking to protect their homes from flooding.