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City gears up for storm; offers preparation tips for residents

Updated Dec. 10, 12:33 p.m.–
The City of Citrus Heights is busy providing storm preparation tips and getting staff and equipment ready for fallen trees, clogged gutters and flooding that often accompany the heavy winds and rain expected this week.

Car, puddle, splash, water. Photo by Luke Otterstad
A car splashes through a large puddle on the side of Old Auburn Road, during last week’s rain.

“The biggest concern is the winds that are coming through,” said Regina Cave with the Citrus Heights General Services division, recalling the “havoc” caused in 2008 and 2012 by heavy rains and clogged storm drains from late leaf-drops.

“We’ll have staff waiting here for all the calls, and we’ll have field staff prepared with equipment, chainsaws, to go out and assist,” said Cave, regarding the City’s current storm preparations. “We’ll also have our tree contractor that will be located here on our campus ready for calls.”

Cave offered several preparation recommendations for residents, emphasizing the need for clearing leaves from around nearby gutters, curbs and storm drains to allow for proper drainage.

“Do not clear them onto your lawn, they need to be put in their green waste containers,” said Cave, commenting that winds and rain will just “put ’em back into the gutters.”

Cave, who serves as a management analyst for the City’s general services division, also recommends residents pick up some sandbags if their property is lower in elevation, or if their driveway is flat and tends to get some run-off into garages or front doors during regular rains. For those located near creeks, she “strongly recommends” getting some sandbags from one of the City’s two free sandbag locations, or at a hardware store.

<<For more info on sandbags, see story: “STORM: Residents pile up on free sandbags” >>

For flooding-related issues or downed trees during the storm, residents can call general services at (916) 727-4770, although the City doesn’t respond to private property trees, unless it’s blocking the sidewalk or road, according to Cave. Trees or branches falling on power lines can be reported to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, via their outage line at (888) 456-7683.

“We’ll respond as fast as we can, as urgently as we can,” said Cave, who cautioned that in cases where the creeks are full, there will be localized flooding. “People need to keep in mind that when the creeks get really full, they have a certain capacity, and the storm drains will not drain down fast because [they’re] all going to the creeks.”

She also warned that high winds paired with soil saturation from rains will make it easier for trees to come down during the storm and recommended parking vehicles in garages, or at least on a driveway to enable free flow of water draining at the street. Keeping flashlights on hand for power outages, unplugging Christmas lights, and bringing any loose outdoor décor inside is also recommended.

The Citrus Heights Police Department is also active in preparing for the storm, with Sergeant Mike Wells sending out a press release Wednesday morning advising motorists of several locations that “historically had issues” with flooding in the past. The areas listed are Sunrise Boulevard between Twin Oaks Avenue and Woodmore Oaks, Greenback Lane between Fair Oaks Boulevard and Sunrise Boulevard, Van Maren Lane between Greenback Lane and Calvin Drive, Antelope Road and Auburn Boulevard, as well as Mariposa Avenue and Highland Avenue.

The Department also referred non life-threatening calls to SMUD, PG&E and the City’s general services division. Calls to Citrus Heights General Services are typically answered by staff 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with calls forwarded to police dispatch after hours.

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Related info:
Citrus Heights General Services: (916) 727-4770 (24-hours-a-day)
SMUD outage line: (888) 456-7683

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