County of Marin - News Releases - Storm Preparation

For Immediate Release
December 09, 2014

Marin Agencies Prepare for Major Storm

Countywide response planned as residents alerted

San Rafael, CA – Marin County’s team of first responders and disaster preparedness experts rallied Tuesday to prepare for a major slow-moving storm Wednesday, starting with messages for residents to hunker down and brace for the wallop.

From left, Christopher Reilly of the Office of Emergency Services, Fire Chief Jason Weber and Public Works Director Raul Rojas provide a storm preparation update to the Board of Supervisors on December 9, 2014.The National Weather Service said Marin can expect significant rain and wind starting Wednesday evening and continuing into Friday. Marin County Department of Public Works officials were more specific, saying Marin will be hardest hit between 4 a.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. Thursday. A collision of high tide and peak rainfall is predicted for about 2:45 p.m. Thursday.

Residents can expect wind gusts of 40 mph or more, downed trees, power outages and flooding during a storm believed to be much stronger than the one that slammed Marin on December 2. West Marin is especially vulnerable and can expect one inch of rain per hour during the peak of the storm. Overall, Marin is predicted to receive 6-8 inches of rain in mountainous areas and 3-5 inches in lower areas.

“We want to make sure residents know that there is a possibility that people will get cut off from services for a period of time,” said Raul Rojas, Director of Public Works, during a briefing at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “We feel the ground has saturated enough from the last storm that there will be significant runoff. Emergencies will happen, and we ask that people are patient with us. We are as prepared as we can be.”

The County of Marin Office of Emergency Services, a division of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, is coordinating the countywide storm response and plans to activate an emergency operations center at the County’s Emergency Operations Facility in San Rafael if needed. Staff members from the Department of Public Works, the Marin County Fire Department and the Sheriff’s Office are on high alert, and trained employees from various County departments are on call in case there is an activation of the emergency operations center.

Fire Chief Jason Weber said all fire agencies are “up staffing” for the storm. He cautioned residents to stay away from downed power lines, put off travel as much as possible – especially driving through flooded areas – and refrain from standing close to swollen creeks.

“Kids think the creek looks fun,” he said, “but if they go in, it might not have a good outcome.”

Homeowners should clean gutters and storm drains of leaves and debris, obtain sand bags from a hardware store or municipal corporation yard, fix cracked windows or doorways, gather a stash of towels, secure outdoor furniture, and move cars to higher ground.

Prepare for power outages by obtaining portable light sources and batteries, keeping a radio close by, gathering warm and rain-resistant clothing and stockpiling foods that do not require heating. Be prepared to help neighbors in need, especially seniors, youngsters and those with special needs.

The County generally does not provide free sandbags to the public, although some are available at West Marin fire stations. Residents who live in towns and cities can check with their local government offices to see if sandbags are available at municipal corporation yards or fire stations. Some hardware stores sell sandbags, including:

  • Martin Bros., 232 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley
  • Pini Ace Hardware, 1535 S. Novato Blvd., Novato
  • Shamrock Materials, 548 Dubois St., San Rafael
  • Water Components, 44 Simms St., San Rafael
  • Goodman’s Hardware, 775 Redwood Hwy., Mill Valley

The Office of Emergency Services keeps an updated webpage on current conditions, and more tips are on Receive texted or emailed emergency notifications by signing up for Alert Marin today: Subscribe to the County’s social media accounts to receive storm information.

Learn more through these resources:

Marin County Watershed Program Flood Preparedness:

Marin County Public Works Flood Control:

Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program:


Ursula Hanks
Office of Emergency Services

Emergency Operations Facility
1600 Los Gamos Drive
Suite 200
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6584
Email: Ursula Hanks
OES website