In anticipation of the next storm to hit the Central Coast, Caltrans and San Luis Obispo County Public Works crews are already taking precautionary measures.
Current preparations include pre-positioning equipment, securing sandbags for those who need them, and focusing on problem areas.
"When we have big storms coming in, we have a standard prep that we do," said SLO County Public Works Deputy Director John Waddell.
“Before, during and after a storm, we clear our drainage systems to make sure that water can flow,” said Caltrans District 5 Public Information Officer Alexa Bertola. “We also have our equipment pre-positioned. This includes sanders as well as our plows. We also have our chainsaws nearby in case of downed trees or limbs.”
“We're pre-positioning road closed signs at problem areas,” Waddell said. “That way, we're ready when a storm comes.”
The decisions they're making now as they prepare for the next storm stem from what was learned from previous storms.
“We had a number of highway closures during our most recent storms and that certainly could be a potential for this incoming storm,” Bertola said.
“With how wet of a winter we’ve had, and the streams are already flowing, creeks are going to come up even quicker than expected and quicker than anyone's probably seen in recent memory,” Waddell said.
Maintenance crews are expected to be ready to react to any damage or flooding.
“During the storm, our maintenance crews will also be patrolling the state highways to ensure the safety for the traveling public,” Bertola said.
“They are keeping an eye on problem areas and then they're also primarily responding to call-outs from sheriff and CHP 911 dispatch,” Waddell said. “That's really our main mission during the storm.”
The public is reminded to drive safely on roadways during storms.
“We want to remind the traveling public not to drive around signage,” Bertola said. “Certainly, when it says a road is closed just for the safety of drivers out on the roadway.”
“Observe the closed signs,” Waddell added. “Don't go around them. Don't go through running water.”
People are encouraged to plan for the event they must find other options to get to work or their homes.
In the event of a disaster, shelters will be made available.
Caltrans reminds drivers that their maintenance teams are running all hours of the day, and will respong immediately to flooding, downed trees, rock debris, and mud debris in the roadway.