Since the beginning of 2017, East Bay residents have been seeing more rain than they have since 1997, the last time Northern California saw epic flooding and rainfall totals. Of course, the good news is that drought worries won’t beleaguer the area for the rest of the year, but getting through the slew of incoming storms may be easier with a few helpful tips. But first, how much rain HAVE we gotten? Take a look.


Downtown Oakland Oakland Airport Berkeley
Rainfall to date: 24.40 Rainfall to date: 18.96 Rainfall to date: 19.69
% of Normal: 150 % of Normal: 117 % of Normal: 108
Rainfall last year: 13.63 Rainfall last year: 5.34 Rainfall last year: 10.56
% of Normal: 84 % of Normal: 33 % of Normal: 58
Rainfall normal: 16.23 Rainfall normal: 16.23 Rainfall normal: 18.29
Total Season Norm: 24.29 Total Season Norm: 24.29 Total Season Norm: 27.62
(Season to date is July 1-to February 14, 2017) Source:


Many “prepare your home for winter” articles tell you to clean your gutters to avoid leaks in your roof, hire an arborist to clean up your trees before they potentially fall or branches break causing damage, and make sure you have flashlights,  candles and a radio  All great tips during normal winter storms, but here are a few when the going gets tough.


Check For Drainage

Does your yard drain properly? For those of you who have replaced your lawn with a hardscape solution during the drought — such as rock or decomposed granite, you should be aware that the drainage pattern in your yard may have changed.  (Water that once percolated through spongy grass will now flow.) Some landscape experts advise homeowners to place 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch in beds and areas where water will drain or collect. If ponding becomes a problem, consider increasing the percentage of your yard that can absorb rainwater. Changes to the landscape may also have changed your property’s grading. Consulting an irrigation and drainage specialist can short-circuit any serious problems a heavy storm might cause.

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With enough rain, groundwater can invade below-grade spaces such as basements and garages even with good drainage systems in place. To protect these spaces, it is recommended that you install a sump pump. If you already have a sump pump, make sure it’s been recently serviced by a plumber.


Watch Your Downspouts

With the torrential amount of rain we have been experiencing, you may not have noticed that your downspouts are becoming full of detritus from your roof and overhanging foliage. If you have not owned your home since the last epic El Nino event, your downspouts may be causing water to back up into the gutters, causing roofing issues and may be leading to water seeping into your foundation as the water is released to the base of your home, which can go into your basement, if you have one.


In Case of Emergency

Place disaster supply kits — such as those from FEMA, the California Department of Water Resources and the Auto Club —  in your home and car. FEMA, the National Weather Service, the California Department of Water Resources and the Auto Club are just a few of many organizations that list the important things to have on hand in a flood emergency. If you live in a high flood prone area, ensure that stored emergency repair materials, such as sandbags, heavy plastic sheeting, and straw-waddle tubing, are in a safe dry place.


Be A Good Neighbor

As we are learning from other hard hit California communities, such as Ben Lomond,  Oroville and Marysville, this past week, if something is happening in your neighborhood, check on your neighbors. Power outages due to high winds or localized flooding can be very disturbing to people and having a friendly neighbor pop in to just see how things are, can make all the difference.


We hope that you will remain vigilant and safe during the winter storms we are experiencing. We are beyond fortunate, here in the East Bay, that our community has weathered many storm events and have avoided much of the flooding and landslides that are occurring around the Bay Area since the beginning of the year. It’s a wonderful place to call home!