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By Gig Connaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 11, 2017 (San Diego) - San Diego County didn’t have to deal with the “atmospheric river” of rain that swamped Northern and Central California this week. However, we’ve still gotten a lot more rain so far this winter than expected — two to five times as much in some areas in December 2016 than December 2015, when El Niño was raising fears of big rains.

With more rain expected this week, and months of winter still ahead, residents in unincorporated areas can get free sand and bags to help protect their properties from possible flooding and erosion.

Rain can increase the risk of flooding and soil erosion, especially in places not covered by lawns, trees, shrubs and plants. Rain can carry water runoff, mud and debris downstream and damage homes, clog storm drains and culverts, and flood and damage roadways.

Locations for free sand and bags are listed below; just bring a shovel to fill the sandbags.

  • Alpine: Alpine Fire Protection District, Station 17: 1364 Tavern Road (Bags only)
  • Bonita: Bonita/Sunnyside Fire Protection District: 4900 Bonita Road
  • Boulevard: Boulevard Fire Department, 40080 Ribbonwood Road
  • Dulzura: CAL FIRE Station 30: 17304 Highway 94
  • Fallbrook: North County Fire Protection District, Station 4: 4375 Pala Mesa Drive
  • Julian: CAL FIRE Station 50: 1587 Highway 78
  • Pauma Valley-Rincon: CAL FIRE Station 70: 16971 Highway 76
  • Ramona: CAL FIRE Ramona Fire Station: 3410 Dye Road, Ramona
  • Valley Center: Valley Center Fire Protection District Station 2: 28205 North Lake Wohlford Road

December was very wet all around San Diego County. Statistics from the National Weather Service show that San Diego’s Lindbergh Field got 4.2 inches of rain in December. That was nearly four times the rain it got in December 2015 and 275 percent of its normal rainfall. Carlsbad got 4.82 inches, nearly five times December 2015 and 280 percent of normal. Ramona got 5.39 inches, more than double its December 2015 total and 241 percent of normal. Campo got 4.29 inches, nearly 2 ½ times what it got in December 2015 and 189 percent of normal.

The San Diego County Flood Control District’s ALERT Flood Warning System measures rain gauges, stream gauges and weather stations across the county. A cumulative read of 96 gauges and stations showed the county received slightly more than double the rainfall in December 2016 than it got in December 2015.

Residents who live in incorporated areas can contact their local fire departments or cities to see if they are offering free sand and sandbags.

For more information about how to be prepared for flooding, go to the County Office of Emergency Services Flooding Preparedness Facts and Resources webpage.

You may also want to check out this how-to video — “You’ve Got Your Sandbags; Now What?” — that we put together last year before El Niño. It explains how to properly fill and use sandbags to protect your property!


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