Members of the "Friends of Dimond" group clean a storm drain. Any resident or business can "adopt a drain" from the city to help prevent flooding. Credit: Amir Aziz

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An atmospheric river —a type of storm that carries a highly concentrated amount of moisture—is expected to arrive in the Bay Area around 4 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4. And when it does, it will almost certainly bring more rain and do more damage than last week’s storm, according to the National Weather Service. A “high wind warning” will also be in effect beginning at 4 a.m. Wednesday and lasting until 10 a.m. Thursday.

We’ve compiled a list of resources to help Oakland residents prepare.

Sign-up for AC Alert

AC Alert provides emergency and other important information updates to the community via text, email, and the Everbridge app, which can be downloaded to mobile devices for free through the Apple store and Google Play. Once you sign up, emergency alerts will be sent to all of your provided contacts (text, phone, email, and through the app). Non-emergency messages will only be sent via email and the Everbridge app.

Where to get free sandbags

When properly placed, heavy sandbags and plastic sheeting can help divert water away from building structures during flooding.

The city of Oakland offers up to 10 free sandbags and up to 20 feet of plastic sheeting (while supplies last) to residents and local businesses, which can be picked up at two locations. An ID is required to prove Oakland residency. The locations and hours are as follows:

Municipal Service Center – 7101 Edgewater Drive

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Drainage Services Facility – 5921 Shepherd Canyon Road

Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If arriving after hours, security officers on site can still provide the supplies. 

Instructional videos about how to use sandbags and plastic sheeting are available on the city’s website.

Report urgent infrastructure issues

Call 311 or (510) 615-5566 to report storm-related issues such as downed signs, traffic signal outages, flooding, sewer overflows, and fallen trees or branches. Residents can also submit a report online

Screenshot of a PG&E outage map.

Find or report power outages

Power outages are expected to occur during the storm. PG&E has a website where residents can report outages and get updates about when power is expected to be restored in specific areas. Residents can also call 1-877-660-6789. 

Report water emergencies

East Bay Municipal Utility District doesn’t have an online form, but residents can call 1-866-403-2683 to report broken hydrants or water-main pipes. To report sewer overflows, call 510-287-1651 during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or the 866 number after hours.

Adopt a drain

Public Works maintains over 13,000 storm drains all throughout Oakland. But there aren’t enough city workers to manage them all during wind and rain storms when they can become clogged and cause flooding.

Oakland residents can help by adopting a storm drain in their neighborhood to clear leaves and other debris. Residents who sign up can borrow city tools and supplies and receive the city’s rain alert notifications.

Azucena Rasilla is a bilingual journalist from East Oakland reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.