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City on Storm Watch- Get Updates Here

Storm Update as of 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The storm system that hit Tuesday night brought some tense moments with periods of heavy rain, high winds and a Flash Flood Advisory issued along the San Francisquito Creek (SFC) near West Bayshore Road/Highway 101.

Caltrans was on the scene last night to clear more storm debris that collected along the trash rack grate at West Bayshore Road. The grate is designed to prevent debris from clogging under the highway. West Bayshore Road remains closed due to the debris still being staged on the bridge and the road is not expected to reopen until about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Urban Forestry responded to eight calls involving downed trees and limbs. There were no injuries but a tree fell on a car on Addison Avenue and storm drain crews responded to three calls of pipeline blockage due to heavy rainfall.

Palo Alto street division crews are also working to clear minor landslides on Arastadero Road above Page Mill Road this morning. The road remains open during the work but expect delays as two-way traffic controls are set-up within the work zone.

Part of Los Trancos Trail, between Trappers Fire Road and Pony Tracks Fire Road in Foothills Park remains closed due to a mudslide that occurred during the rain on Friday, Jan. 6. Click here for more updates on the trail.

Storm Update as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, January 10, 2017:

The SFC Joint Powers Authority has issued a Flood Watch Advisory.  The heavy rain that hit our area tonight began to taper off starting at about 9 p.m. but brought enough rainfall that by midnight the San Francisquito Creek (SFC) is expected to  reach 60 percent capacity at West Bayshore Road/Highway 101. The SFC creek monitor levels are slowing the rate of rise, but the peak of high tide is about to occur just before midnight. The City has crews closely monitoring the situation and you are advised to stay on alert if you are in the area. 

You can track the CNRFC's latest computer models on the SFC here.

You can also monitor Palo Alto's creek levels here.


National Weather Service Update as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, January 10, 2017:

The City’s Public Works crews are continuing to closely monitor San Francisquito Creek as we have had off and on rain on Tuesday, January 10 and the California Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC ) is forecasting 0.9 inch of rain this evening with a resulting flowrate of about 2,400 cfs at 11 p.m. That combined with this evening’s high tide, which will peak just before midnight at 7.07 feet, could cause flooding problems. CNRFC will provide another update on conditions at 9 p.m. and we will post an update shortly thereafter here and on our social media channels.

You can track the CNRFC's latest computer models on the SFC here.


Weekend Storm Updates, January 7-8, 2017

This weekend’s storm system that began overnight Friday is expected to be the biggest storm to hit the Bay Area so far this season, with the height of the storm arriving Sunday. The City of Palo Alto has staff on-call all weekend to monitor the situation and assist with any storm related incidents should they arrive. The City also will be getting continuous updates from the Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services (OES) and the National Weather Service (NWS), and those updates will be posted here and on our social media channels.

Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services (OES) Update as of 12:30 p.m. Sunday, January 8, 2017:

The National Weather Service (NWS) says the next 12 hours are expected to bring 2 to 3 inches of rain to the region, with the most intensity between now and 3 p.m.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District reports that the San Francisquito Creek (SFC) is expected to stay well within its banks. The City Public Works staff will continue to monitor SFC closely. You can track the CNRFC latest computer models on the SFC here.

You can also monitor Palo Alto's creek levels here.

View the local Palo Alto forecast from the National Weather Service here.

National Weather Service Update as of 9 a.m. Sunday, January 8, 2017:


The National Weather Service (NWS) reports there is still a long, steady stream of moisture headed our way on Sunday, but the Palo Alto Foothills did not get that much rain. There will possibly be periods of heavy rain through this afternoon, tapering off this evening. 

The CNRFC (Calif. Nevada River Forecast Center) forecast for San Francisquito Creek (SFC) goes to 9.4 feet, which is just below flood stage of 9.5 feet. You can track the CNRFC latest computer models on the SFC here.  The City has Public Works staff on hand closely monitoring the situation.

The Flash Flood Warning for our area has been cancelled but a Flash Flood Watch is still in effect through Sunday evening.

Winds will continue to be a problem with advisories expiring around 3 p.m.

You can monitor the National Weather Service forecast for the San Francisco Bay Area here.

View the local Palo Alto forecast from the National Weather Service here.


National Weather Service Update as of 4 p.m. Saturday, January 7, 2017:

The National Weather Service says the most intense rainfall (possibly exceeding 1"/hr) is expected to arrive between 4 a.m.-12 p.m. Sunday, with the high tide at San Francisquito Creek(SFC) at 8:45 a.m. Sunday. The Santa Cruz Mountains could see as much as 12 inches of rain in this storm system, while the rest of the Bay Area is expected to see 3 to 5 inches of rain.

SFC streamflow predictions for the storm system are not consistent however. According to Santa Clara Valley Water District hydrologist assessments, SFC is not expected to exceed 50 percent capacity at any point during the storm series this weekend. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted a flowrate of about 3300 cfs at 4 p.m. Sunday. 3300 cfs is about 70% of SFC's capacity at Highway 101 and about 60% of the capacity at the Pope/Chaucer bridge. Rainfall and creek flowrates will be continuously monitored.

Most of the moisture is expected to be south of Palo Alto, but the NWS noted that "atmospheric river paths are impossible to accurately predict".

Wind is likely to cause the most problems throughout the region, and could lead to power outages and falling trees. 

You can monitor the National Weather Service forecast for the San Francisco Bay Area here.

View the local Palo Alto forecast from the National Weather Service here.

Get Prepared

Besides having on-call staff monitoring the storm round the clock this weekend, the City has sandbag stations at four locations for the public to pick up if they live in an area that is prone to flooding. The locations are:

  • Rinconada Park
  • Mitchell Park
  • Chaucer Street at Palo Alto Avenue
  • Palo Alto Airport 

The City has stocked a total of 5,000 filled sandbags between all these locations. Once those run out, only loose sand and empty bags will be on hand. Residents should come prepared with a shovel in case the filled bags are depleted.


Report Problems

Blocked storm drains, slides and fallen trees, call the Public Works after hours line:

 (650) 329-2413

Power outages/electrical problems, call Palo Alto Electrical Operations:

 (650) 496-6914
 
The City encourages residents to stay aware of local conditions and to access updated information on creek levels, weather forecasts and more at www.cityofpaloalto.org/storms.

Last Updated January 7, 2017