Mayor Lee Encourages Residents to Prepare for Severe Cold Weather

City Departments and Agencies on Stand-By as San Francisco Prepares for Storms

02/24/11— Mayor Edwin M. Lee and City Officials are encouraging residents and businesses to prepare for a cold weather system expected to last for the next several days with colder temperatures, precipitation and possible freezing conditions. The National Weather Service reports that snow accumulation is expected down to 1,000 feet, and snow may be seen in San Francisco down to 500 feet, but is not expected to accumulate. Beware of icy road conditions, drive slowly and stay off the roadway during the peak of storm for public safety. City departments and agencies are currently working to clear debris away from catch basins and sewers to prevent flooding in low-lying areas. The City will monitor shelters and increase capacity, if necessary, and increase outreach to homeless individuals to ensure they know where to find shelter and services.

“City agencies are working together to ensure that homes and businesses are protected and the public is safe during these severe weather storms,” said Mayor Lee. “Crews are on stand-by and will monitor roads for potential flooding and other hazardous conditions and respond to any emergencies throughout the duration of the storms.”

To help over the next few days, the City is urging people who live in San Francisco to call the 311 Customer Service Center, which is available 24 hours, for non-emergency related items including clogged or blocked storm drains or catch basins, street flooding, knocked down trees, and power outages. For additional information on electricity and natural gas issues, please contact Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) at 800-743-5002. Residents should call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.

The Department of Public Works will continue to offer free sandbags to residents and businesses at 2323 Cesar Chavez (enter at Kansas & Marin Streets). Call 311 for more information.

The Department of Emergency Management (DEM), the Public Utilities Commission, Public Works, Recreation and Parks, Public Health, Municipal Transportation Agency, emergency first responders including Fire Department and the Police Department, and other utility companies will monitor and manage incoming reports and emergencies. DEM has activated an Incident Management Team (IMT) and is coordinating the citywide response, which includes these key city departments and partner agencies with a role in emergency response.  DEM is convening citywide conference calls related to the storm, and is participating in regional conference calls hosted by the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA).  DEM is prepared to activate the City’s Emergency Operations Center if there are major disruptions to normal operations in areas such as transportation or utilities.

The Human Services Agency (HSA) is monitoring shelter capacity and has implemented its shelter cold snap protocol. HSA is preparing plans with the American Red Cross to expand shelter capacity if needed.  The DPH Homeless Outreach Team is increasing its outreach to the homeless population.

“The need for shelter and support for homeless residents is even greater during severe storms, and I want to ensure that those who need shelter can find it,” said Mayor Lee.