Sacramento residents urged to prepare for major storm

A major storm is expected to hit Northern California on Wednesday, Dec. 10 with local impacts occurring Wednesday night and continuing into Friday, Dec. 12. High impacts are expected, and the threat level is considered severe, with storms of this magnitude only affecting our region every several years. The combination of moderate to heavy precipitation and very windy conditions will likely bring widespread power outages, downed trees, flooding, and heavy snow fall to the Sierras.

The greatest impact of the storm will occur Wednesday night to Thursday, with possible thunderstorms on Friday. Rain is expected to fall 1-3 inches in the valley, 2-5 inches in the foothills, and snow fall is expected to be 1-2 feet above 6000′ and possible wind gusts of greater than 60 mph.

The heaviest rain and strongest winds are expected during Thursday morning commute. Drivers are urged to plan ahead and allow extra time for travel, watch for fallen tree branches and limbs, and make sure not to drive over any fallen power lines.

How the City prepares

The Department of Utilities and the Department of Public Works work year-round to help prepare for winter storms. Precautions are made by the city to prevent and or limit flooding by maintaining channels and debris. Floodgates are checked and training exercises are performed. The City also works to prune the city’s 100,000 public trees on a 10 year cycle.

What citizens need to know:

  • It does not take many leaves to clog a drain. Residents are encouraged to collect leaves in yard waste cans first, then pile on the street away from grates and away from the gutter to help water flow to the drains. Residents should keep an eye on drains during storms and use a rake to clear leaves and debris off of the grates.
  • Residents can get an estimate of when leaf collection crews will be on their street at If the estimated collection date is not until next week, residents should consider moving piles onto their lawns until after the storm.
  • On Thursday, crews will attempt to collect garbage, yard waste and recycling. High winds may cause containers to blow over and create driving hazards as well as spread garbage across property.  Collection trucks may not be able to service some streets due to flooding.
  • If containers cannot be serviced due to the weather on Thursday, the City will return on Friday and Saturday if necessary.
  • Once garbage collection has occurred, customers are urged to move their containers off the street as strong winds tip the cans and blow them into the street.
  • If your property is known to flood, you should have sandbags ready. They can be purchased at hardware stores or the City is offering two self-service locations where sandbags can be picked up at no charge, after 2 p.m. on Wednesday the 10th.
    • The North Area Corporation Yard, located at 918 Del Paso Rd., at the Kenmar Road yard entrance
    • The City’s flood warehouse, located at 6150 27th, just north of 47th Avenue
  • If there is street flooding that is not eased by moving leaves off a drain grate, trees down, street signs, streetlights or traffic signals out, visit the City’s on-line request tool at or call 311. The City has crews 24/7 to response to requests.
  • With the gusty winds, localized power outages are possible as outdoor decorations, tree limbs and patio furniture are carried into power lines.  Power outages should be reported to SMUD 1-888-456-SMUD (7683).  If you see a downed power line, DO NOT TOUCH IT, call 9-1-1.
  • The Front Street Shelter urges pet owners to protect pets from the elements, have dry bedding and make sure your fence lines are secure.

For more on how Sacramento prepares for major storm events and how you can stay prepared as well, visit our Storm Preparedness page.

For information on weather conditions, please visit National Weather Service, Sacramento.


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