It is always best to prepare for winter storms ahead of time. Possible consequences of these storms include flooding, fallen trees, and landslides. However, there are things residents can do to prepare for these possible scenarios.
Know Who to Contact
Residents can report issues during storms in the following ways:
- Emergencies: 911
- Downed Power Lines: 911 then call 1.800.743.5000
- Power Outages: 1.800.743.5002 or https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/outagecenter/
- Fallen trees, landslides, and flooding on roads and public property:
- Weekdays 6 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.: City of Saratoga at 408.868.1245
- Weeknights after 3:30 p.m. and weekends: Santa Clara County Communications at 408.299.2507
- Free permits to remove fallen/dead trees: 408.868.1276 or www.saratoga.ca.us/trees
Sign up for AlertSCC to receive emergency warnings and information through email, phone call, and/or text message.
Downed Power Lines & Power Outages
Assume downed power lines are energized and dangerous. Stay away from the lines and keep others away from them. Call 911 immediately to report the location of a downed line. After reporting the downed line, call PG&E at 1.800.743.5000.
Report outages and check the estimated time of power restoration by calling the PG&E 24-hour Power Outage Information Center at 1.800.743.5002 or visiting the PG&E website.
Learn more about power outage safety.
Those dependent on electricity for medical needs, or individuals with Access & Functional Needs, can call 2-1-1 or visit http://211.org to access available resources.
PG&E has secured hotel discounts for customers who are experiencing extended outages due to the series of winter storms impacting Northern and Central California. Learn more on the PG&E website.
Sandbags are a great resource for keeping water off a resident's property. A line of sandbags across a driveway entrance can be a great help during heavy rains. A free, 24-hour sandbag station is available right outside of the City’s Corporation Yard (19700 Allendale Avenue) where you will find bags, sand, sandbag fillers, and shovels. There is a 25-bag limit per household.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District has a page dedicated to sandbag information, which features a map of sandbag stations throughout the County and a video on sandbag techniques. The California Department of Water Resources and California Conservation Corps also offers a two-page instructional flyer (PDF) on how to properly fill and place sandbags.
Flooding can occur quickly with little to no warning. Residents should stay away from flooded areas that are six inches or more in-depth. That includes driving or walking. If it is difficult to tell how deep the water is, assume the worst and stay away. Santa Clara Valley Water District has a dedicated flood protection website with useful information and links. Learn what to do before, during, and after a flood from the Winter Preparedness Flyer (PDF).
Flood Map Service Center
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hosts a Flood Map Service Center. The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.
Winter storms can produce enough wind to blow trees over and, at times, into roadways. The City will clear the road immediately of the obstruction. Residents should contact the City when they come across a fallen tree in the public right-of-way.
A free permit may be required for the removal of dead or fallen trees on private property. Complete a tree removal permit application available on the City website, then submit the completed application along with photos documenting the condition of the tree(s) to the City Arborist by email or mail. The application may also be left in a drop box outside of the Community Development Department, located at 13777 Fruitvale Avenue, Saratoga CA 95070. For the application and more information visit www.saratoga.ca.us/trees
Gutters & Downspouts
Properly maintained gutters can be the first line of defense against the elements by directing water away from homes. But they need to be cleaned on a regular basis. The National Center for Healthy Housing, a national nonprofit organization, recommends homeowners clean out their gutters and downspouts twice a year (in the spring and fall). Clogged gutters can cause water damage to homes and property, while also becoming inviting dwellings for insects and rodents.