City officials warn residents to prepare for floods

Heavy rains expected Thursday and through this weekend have prompted San Francisco city officials to warn residents and businesses to prepare for potential flooding.

Those who live or work in low-lying, flood-prone areas of the city are being asked to have sandbags in place before the rain begins and to report blocked or clogged storm drains and catch basins to the San Francisco

Public Utilities Commission.

SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal said her agency has crews cleaning out catch basins throughout the city as a precautionary measure.

Residents can pick up as many as 10 free sandbags from the Department of Public Works yard at 2323 Cesar Chavez St., weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to the SFPUC.

For more information or to report clogged storm drains, sewer backups or flooding, residents may call 311.

Coast Guard warns boaters

Local boaters who plan to sail in Bay Area waters this weekend should be careful when sailing since three upcoming storms are expected to bring in high seas, heavy rain and strong winds, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The succession of tempests will make up “one of the most powerful storms in the past two years,” said Steve Anderson, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Approximately 2 to 4 inches of rain are expected to fall in the Bay Area and local mountains could receive up to 8 inches of rain between Thursday and Sunday, Anderson said.

Prior to the three storms expected this week, winds are expected to pick up Wednesday night with gusts reaching 29 mph after midnight and a western swell of 9 to 11 feet with wind waves between 3 and 5 feet through the night, according to the National Weather Service.

The first of the three storms will most likely begin Thursday. With that storm, about an inch of rain is expected to fall and 4 to 7 foot wind waves and western swells at 12 to 15 feet and southern swells at 7 to 9 feet are anticipated, the National Weather Service reported.

Friday morning winds are expected to pick up from 20 mph to 30 mph with gusts as high as50 mph, Anderson said.

By 10 a.m. Friday rain will most likely pound the Bay Area. About 2 to 3 inches of rain are expected Friday, Anderson said.

Combined seas of 14 to 19 feet and winds from 35 mph to 46 mph are expected along with the rain, according to the National Weather Service.

The third storm will be calmer than Friday's and is expected to last through Sunday. About half an inch of rain is expected to fall with that storm, Anderson said.

Those who plan to go boating during the storms should tell someone where they are going and make sure they have their required safety equipment such as signal flares and lifejackets for everyone on board, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard also recommends boaters equip their boats with a GPS system, a 406Mhz Emergency Position Indicating and a marine VHF radio that allows boaters in distress to contact the Coast Guard on channel 16.

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