Storm tips: How to prepare, what to do


The California Highway Patrol and California Department of Transportation officials warn drivers to expect very difficult conditions on local and mountain roads beginning Wednesday night. They advise:

▪  Fill your gas tank before the storm hits Wednesday

▪  Check windshield wipers and replace if necessary

▪  Prepare an alternate route to work for Thursday and Friday in case your path is blocked by floods, traffic jams

▪  Leave early Thursday morning

▪  For longer trips, check for road conditions, closures on Caltrans website at www.dot.ca.gov

▪  Also check Caltrans real-time highway cameras at www.video.dot.ca.gov

▪  Call 511 for road updates, or download a road info phone app such as Sigalert or Calroadreport

▪  For mountain drives or longer trips, bring: flashlight, snacks, water, blanket, chains, cellphone

▪  Delay your trip if it is not necessary

▪  Drivers of tall vehicles should go slow, expect buffeting winds, especially on I-80 and I-5

▪  Do not use cruise control; it can cause a hydroplane spinout

▪  Avoid standing water on freeways; it can stall your engine

Around home:

▪  Pick up loose leaves before the storm to reduce risk of street flooding; monitor grates to keep water flowing

▪  Bring in patio furniture, Christmas decorations, other loose items that might blow over

▪  Prepare a simple emergency kit: a flashlight, battery-operated clock, extra batteries, manual can opener, supply of bottled water

▪  During an outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lampshades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.

▪  Have a battery-operated radio or television to get news reports with estimated times that electricity will be restored

▪  Turn off all electric appliances except one light while waiting for electricity to be restored. This makes it easier for SMUD crews to restore electric service

▪  Assume any downed line is “energized” and stay away. Do not remove fallen tree limbs or other debris from lines

▪  Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator and freezer during an outage to prevent food from spoiling

Who to contact about problems:

▪  SMUD customers should call (888) 456-7683 or visit smud.org on a smartphone

▪ PG&E customers can call (800) 743-5002

▪  Sacramento residents should call 311 to report downed trees or street flooding