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Archived News Release from 2005

For Immediate Release

High Tides Combined with Storm Bring Potential for Flooding

Redwood City, CA - January 6, 2005 - The storms expected to hit the bay area in the next few days will unfortunately be combined with unusually high tides, and Redwood City is cautioning residents in flood-prone areas to be vigilant and make appropriate preparations. The National Weather Service predicts a wet and cold weather pattern to affect the San Francisco Bay Area Thursday through Sunday, including heavy rains and wind. At the same time, tides will be extremely high from January 6 through January 12. When heavy rains coincide with unusually high tides, the potential exists for an overflow of water.

Creeks, drainage areas, retention basins, and other elements of the City’s storm systems may fill beyond capacity.  Redwood City residents in flood-prone areas, particularly those east of El Camino Real, are urged to take measures to reduce the risk of flooding:

  • Residents can pick up sandbags on first come-first served basis at 1400 Broadway; when not being used, they should be stored in a dry area or covered with protective plastic to keep them dry.
  • Gutters and down spouts should be cleaned and free of debris to assure proper water run-off away from the home, toward the street.
  • Do not place trash or debris in the gutters, creeks, or drainage canals, in order to keep catch basins and storm drain openings clear of debris.
  • Move electrical wires and extension cords off the floor, if your home is in an area know to experience flooding.
  • If residents observe a significant blockage of leaves or other debris in gutters, creeks, or drainage canals, they should call Redwood City Public Works at 780-7464.
  • Residents can help us by raking leaves away from the catch basin to allow flow to continue, and leaving them on the planting strip so that rains cannot wash them back into catch basins.

Redwood City’s Public Works Department crews will be out in force throughout this period, working to ensure that the storm water system is operating, that streets, gutters, and drains are clear and running, and that the pump stations and tide gates are functioning. These crews are responsible for taking care of literally thousands of storm drain catch basins (which ‘catch’ the dirt and debris as storm water flows through) and inlets (the grated storm drains you see in gutters), over 100 miles of storm drain pipe, 75 tide gates, 82 open culverts, and over 10 miles of creeks, drainage ditches, and canals.

For the most part, Redwood City is at sea level. Rainwater collects in catch basins, flows to the creeks, then downhill to one of 17 pump stations. These stations pump the storm water into the Bay to keep it from flooding low-lying areas of the City. The City’s 75 tide gates keep high tides from pushing ‘upstream’ and overloading already-swollen creeks and basins, and during low tide the gates let creek water flow into the Bay.

Further general information on disaster preparedness is available on the Redwood City Fire Department's web pages.

Visit Redwood City 's award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, City government, and local business.


Marilyn Harang
Public Works Superintendent
(650) 780-7464

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