Supervisor Ron Roberts speaks as other county, city and law enforcement officials look on. Photo by Chris Jennewein

City, county and law enforcement officials gathered at the secure San Diego County Operations Center Monday to remind citizens that more dangerous El Niño weather lies ahead.

“Today is about reminding, reinforcing, and probably the most important thing — planning,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

County Supervisor Ron Roberts and the county hasn’t experienced any natural disaster as potentially “significant as this since the fires of 2007” and was making full preparations.

“We’ve had a big week…We probably have more of it coming,” he said. “This series of storms should put us on notice that the concerns about El Niño are very real.”

Meteorologists are predicting that there could be another 60 days of rain activity leading to flooding, among other hazards, due to the warming of the Pacific Ocean known as El Niño.

Sheriff William Gore said that it’s not just rain to be wary of, but snow in the back country. And he said even small levels of flooding are dangerous. “Six inches of running water can take away a small car,” he noted.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said her department received 1,300 additional calls over Tuesday and Wednesday due to the storms.

Among the safety and preparedness advice the officials offered were:

  • Respect barricades and stay off of closed roads
  • Make sure you have sandbags if your home or business is prone to flooding
  • Don’t drive too fast in wet conditions — your car could hydroplane
  • Learn different routes to home and work to avoid closed roads
  • Don’t drive through running water
  • If you live in the back country, prepare your car for snow with chains and supplies
  • Register your mobile phone with AlertSanDiego, the county’s phone alert system
  • Pay attention to media reports and check the county’s adverse weather page
  • Report downed power lines by calling San Diego Gas & Electric (800) 411-7343
  • San Diego residents can report flooding at 619-527-7500

At the press conference, SDG&E announced a donation of $70,000 to the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation for the purchase of three emergency generators to be used at its San Diego County disaster shelters.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.