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Sandbags available, widespread flooding expected as powerful storm rolls in

on January 4, 2023

The wet weather is about to turn wild in the Bay Area, as Wednesday morning rain makes way for an afternoon of gusty wind and downpours and an evening where thunderstorms and even hail are possible.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and high-wind warnings in effect until Thursday afternoon, with the potential for 1 to 4 inches of rain over the course of two days. And more is on the way, with another atmospheric river threatening weather this weekend and into next week.

Contra Costa County issued a storm alert, advising residents to make sure drains are clear before the next round of rain falls. The county is offering free sandbags at various locations, including the West County Detention Facility in Richmond. Residents should bring shovels for filling the bags.

Wind will be a major factor Wednesday, with downed trees and power lines expected. On Thursday, the wind will subside, but more rain on already saturated soil could cause more trees to topple.

PG&E says it is ready to respond to the storm, after restoring service to half a million customers who lost power in Saturday’s storm. The plan includes 360 four-person electric crews and nearly 400 utility first responders.

The biggest concern will be with flooding, as a steady, heavy rainfall will douse the area, causing a rapid rise in streams, creeks and rivers.

“This weather system by itself would present widespread challenges, and we have to factor in that many parts of our service area remain saturated after last weekend’s storm,”Angie Gibson, PG&E vice president of Emergency Preparedness & Response, said in a news release Tuesday. “Our crews have been working tirelessly to ensure we minimize any impacts this storm may have on our customers and hometowns.”

Gibson asked customers to prepare an emergency plan in case power goes out and to make sure their contact information is up to date with PG&E.

Contra Costa County suggests residents check the county website and its Twitter feed for updates on road closures and other storm-related issues.

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