One of the biggest storms to hit the Bay Area in the last decade is expected to dump inches of rain and blast the area with powerful winds on Thursday and Friday, the National Weather Service said. The bottom line, now is the time to prepare for the storm. "Preparations should be made ASAP," the National Weather Service's Bay Area region said in a statement.
According to meteorologist Charles Bell, mountains lining the coast from Sonoma to Santa Cruz could get as much as 8 inches of rain by Thursday morning. Winds could reach up to 70 mph. This winter storm is distinguished by its "atmospheric river," which could be up to 400 miles wide and cause major flooding when it's stalled over an area, according to the weather service.
The best way to remain safe during this storm is to stay off the roads and to stay away from downed power lines. Make sure you have plenty of bottled water and batteries.
Tips for Preparing For the Stormy Days Ahead
Winter Weather Driving Tips
- Drive with your headlights on.
- Do not drive through a flooded area. Your vehicle could get stuck, putting you in harm's way.
- If you are driving on roads where flood waters have receded, be careful since roads can be weakened by the rains.
- Make sure you have a full tank of gas.
- If a power line falls on your car, stay inside the vehicle until a trained professional arrives.
- If your vehicle hydroplanes, here's what to do.
- Leave plenty of following distance between your vehicle and other motorists.
- If you're caught in stalled traffic, open your window a crack to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Items to Have at Home
- Have plenty of bottled water on hand – the Red Cross recommends one gallon per person per day. Power outages and flooding can cause problems with your home's water supply.
- Nonperishable food
- Candles, matches and batteries
- Toilet paper
- Cash – if stores lose power, they won't be able to accept credit cards.
- A fully charged cell phone – backup charges that don't require electricity are good too
- A battery operated radio
If you have pets, don't forget to have enough food and water on hand for them. Since scared pets often run off during storms, make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag or gets microchipped.