New Year’s Eve brought with it a potent winter storm, and City of Sacramento staff and crews have been working around the clock to respond to it and help residents in need.
According to the National Weather Service, downtown Sacramento saw nearly 2.8 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending 7 a.m. Sunday as well as strong winds.
Many Sacramentans woke up on New Year’s Day to see broken branches, snapped limbs and downed trees in their yards and blocking streets and roads.
With more rain expected to hit the Sacramento region later this week, here is how the City has responded so far to the inclement weather:
Servicing streets and trees
Prior to this weekend, the City’s Public Works Department and Department of Utilities prepared for the storm by trimming trees and clearing drains throughout the city.
In addition, DOU has spent months doing critical infrastructure maintenance work on the City’s flood-control system, which includes creeks, bridges and roads throughout Sacramento.
By Sunday afternoon, the City’s 311 call center had received approximately 200 calls for tree service, which Public Works has been responding to by prioritizing calls related to public safety and traffic concerns.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” said Ryan Moore, director of Public Works. “We are utilizing all available staff to perform the needed clean-up work. We also are hiring every available contractor to support our efforts.”
The City’s Department of Utilities also has responded with urgency. Nearly 130 DOU staffers worked throughout Saturday and Sunday to help the city weather the storm.
More than 3,600 storm drains were cleared during the storm, which helped reduce street flooding throughout the city, said Carlos Eliason, public information officer for DOU.
DOU crews also worked to keep more than 50 pump stations operating with generators when the storm caused a temporary power outage. All stormwater that falls in the city must be pulled out of the stormwater system using pumps.
The Sacramento Police Department between 7 p.m. and midnight on Dec. 31 received approximately one thousand 911 calls, said Sgt. Zach Eaton.
In addition to routine calls, Sac PD officers responded to calls regarding downed power lines and trees. Officers also assisted City crews with traffic control when needed while crews worked to clear hazards in the roadway.
The Sacramento Fire Department also saw a spike in calls on Dec. 31. SFD received 581 calls for service, a 35% increase in call volume from 2021’s New Year’s Eve, according to Capt. Keith Wade.
This included 94 calls for downed power lines, nine fire incidents, 178 calls for medical aid, 137 weather related calls (including water related emergencies) and eight natural gas leaks.
Responding to a mutual-aid request from Sacramento County and SMUD, the City’s Office of Emergency Management, in coordination with the Youth, Parks and Community Enrichment Department, on Sunday activated the Sam & Bonnie Pannell Community Center to support people who had to evacuate their homes because of the storm.
In addition to opening Pannell Center for storm evacuees, OEM worked with Team Rubicon — an international non-government organization that specializes in emergency response – to help in clearing downed trees, reopening streets and responding to other issues.
The City will continue to monitor the upcoming forecast while responding to calls for service, officials said.