Winter Storms

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Preparing Your Home & Property

Winter Storms

Winter storms in San Clemente can bring heavy rains, high winds and extreme temperatures to San Clemente.  Localized flooding and erosion are common during heavy winter rains.  Many structures in the city are built on hillsides or at the top of coastal canyons, creating an ever present danger of minor or major slope failure or landslides when the ground is saturated.  

Before the Storm

How can I prepare my property for winter storms?

Residential rain preparations should include clearing debris from gutters, downspouts and low areas in yards or patios that could cause water back-ups. Prevent runoff pollution into streets and storm drains by collecting any trash or landscape clippings from your property into their designated disposal containers. Secure outdoor furniture, equipment or toys and be sure pets have safe cover.

Take preventative measures now before the rain arrives and create a family action plan. Inspect your property for potential hazards and fix any past problem areas. Slopes, roof repairs, and places where water tends to accumulate are all areas posing potential hazards if there is extended rain. Purchase plastic sheeting and sandbags for your landscape while stores have supplies. While the City’s Public Works Department keeps sandbags on hand for emergencies, a major rain incident quickly depletes their supply.

When rain is predicted, put your trash cans up on the sidewalk or out past the gutter so that the water flow is not blocked.  This reduces the chance that your trash cans will overturn or wash down the street.  Please remove your trash cans from the street on your trash pick-up day as soon as possible after pick up.

Where can I get sand bags? 

The City has free sand bag supplies for citizens. The following locations have a sand pile, empty bags and shovel. Citizens can come and fill their own (limit 25 please).

  • Available Anytime:  City Hall, 100 Avenida Presidio (in the parking lot nearest Avenida Presidio)
  • Normal Business Hours:  Maintenance Yard, 390 Avenida Pico (to the right after you enter the yard), in front of Bldg. "H"

Additional bags can be purchased from local building/material supply stores (e.g. Lowes, Home Depot, WhiteCap), but call ahead to check availability.

My property is on a hillside, are there specific things I should do?

The City’s Engineering Division has guidelines for private property owners.  The guidelines include:

414331 Guidelines – Protecting Hillside Homes

414340 Guidelines – Recommended Slope Planting Palette

414350 Guidelines – Slope Repair

During the Storm

How do I Report Damage?

If you have a life or limb threatening emergency, call 911. 

During normal working hours the Front Desk of City Hall will direct your call to the appropriate location.  It can be reached at 949-361-8200. 

If the problem occurs during non-working hours, or you would like to reach the division directly, you can use the following contact numbers:

Maintenance Services - (949) 361-8317

  • City Beaches
  • City Parks
  • City Trails
  • Damaged Trees/Branches on Public Property – Trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.
  • Street Damage or Obstruction
  • Street Light/Sign Damage

 Utilities - (949) 366-1553

  • Sewer Back-ups or Problems
  • Storm Drain Blockages
  • Street Flooding
  • Ditch Blockages on Public Property – Generally, drainage ditches on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.  Some exceptions exist, i.e. easements.
  • Water line damage or failure

 Engineering (949) 361-6118 or 361-6119 (Phone is answered only during working hours)

  • Slope Failures from or onto Public Property

What should I do during a storm?

Protect yourself and your family.  The California Emergency Management Agency provides the following information:

  • Avoid areas that are subject to sudden flooding.
  • Do not try to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees. Even water as low as inches deep may cause you to be swept away by strong currents.
  • Do not try to drive over a flooded road. This may cause you to be both stranded and trapped.
  • If your car stalls, abandon it IMMEDIATELY and seek higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
  • Do not “sightsee” in flooded areas. Do not try to enter areas blocked off by local authorities.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips. If you must travel during the storm, dress in warm, loose layers of clothing. Advise others of your destination.
  • Use the telephone ONLY for emergency needs or to report dangerous conditions.
  • Tune to local radio or television stations for emergency information and instructions from local authorities.
  • If flooding is likely, and time permits, move valuable household possessions to the upper floors of your home.
  • If advised by local authorities to leave your home, move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water. Establish an out-of-state “family contact” so that friends and relatives will know who to call to get information about where you are.
  • Before leaving, disconnect all electrical appliances, and if advised by your local utility, shut off electric circuits at the fuse panel and gas service at the meter.

What do I do if my property was damaged during the storm?

Should water or mud damage occur on private property, the owner must get in touch with their insurance company for referrals to approved remediation services. Those who may wish to contract on their own for assistance can find commercial vendors listed in the yellow pages. Look under "water damage" and be sure to inquire if the company is licensed to do this work.