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Officials Say: Brace Yourselves for a Wild El Niño Ride

This morning San Francisco city leaders held a press conference to detail their El Niño game plan. Judging by recent warnings from federal officials, it's a timely move. According to various news outlets, Mayor Ed Lee and other city authorities discussed measures to add 1,100 shelter beds, provide sandbags, and up other emergency services. This is against the backdrop of new warnings from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that we should expect storm-related havoc.


Lee's press conference allowed several officials to provide updates. Among them was Mohammed Nuru, Director of Public Works, who reminded SF residents they can pick up up to 10 free sandbags at the Public Works Department at 2323 Cesar Chavez St. You need to bring proof that you live in the city. Mike Carlin, CEO of SF's Public Utilities Commission, says his department is ready for the storm. He cautioned SF residents to be on the alert for clogged street drains and gutters. Noting that there are 25,000 street drains in the city, he said that residents who pick up and bag leaves that block them can call 311 to have the bags picked up. "Water can back up at a drain, quickly jump a curb, and flood houses," he said. He also said that now is the time to make sure your possessions in low-level areas are elevated and out of water's way.


Local meteorologists are reporting the next healthy storm will be arriving tomorrow, though this one isn't considered a severe El Niño storm. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that FEMA officials issued new warnings to Californians yesterday that the coming storms could do big damage this winter—from flooding, to mudslides, to downed electric lines. The report says officials are taking steps to minimize the impact, but they recommend homeowners purchase flood insurance and maintain their properties by clearing gutters and taking out old, vulnerable trees.

· El Niño 2015 Strongest on Record [Curbed Ski]
· Disaster officials brace for havoc from historic El Niño [SFGate]