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Strong winds, rain cause storm drains to clog

Original post made on Nov 28, 2012

The second of three storms cleared the Palo Alto area Friday afternoon but not before significantly flooding several Palo Alto streets.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 12:05 PM

Comments (22)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Just returned from being out and discovered lots of flooded roads around town. Some are on arteries, but some are on local residential streets. I suspect leaves are blocking some of the storm drains so strongly suggest that if you live near a blocked storm drain you take it on yourself to remove leaves to allow the water to drain.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Oregon Expressway is flooded right now. Westbound is closed at Alma Street.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Here's the link to the CPA creek monitor:

Web Link

Given the forecast, I would say that Friday and Saturday will be the days to keep track of creek levels.


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Posted by Herstory Buff
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I think we are about due for an El Nino year. This may be it. I hope the city is ready, but it doesn't look like it so far. There shouldn't be any flooding at this point.


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Posted by Contact numbers
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Web Link
City of Palo Alto Contact numbers for storm related emergencies:

Blocked storm drains and/or slides:
Palo Alto Public Works Operations
496-6974 (weekdays 7 a.m.-5p.m.)
329-2413 (after hours)

Fallen Trees:
Palo Alto Public Works
496-5953 (weekdays 7 a.m.-5 p.m.)
329-2413 (after hours)

Gas leaks, sewer spills:
Palo Alto Communications 329-2579

Power outages & electrical problems:
Palo Alto Electric Operations 496-6914

CPA Emergency Message:
Palo Alto 329-2420 (during flood emergency only)


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 30, 2012 at 9:37 am

The Paly campus was dramatically flooded on Wednesday and students were wading across a "moat" to get into various buildings!


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Posted by David
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 30, 2012 at 10:20 am

The gutters along Louis Road were totally full of leaves the past few days. The City should have been working OT to remove the leaves. Creek blockages should have been removed continuously over the past weeks.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2012 at 10:24 am

Folks, please do not park your cars on the street on street cleaning days. My low IQ neighbors are always doing this. The street cleaners do there best, but they have to skip half a block whenever just one car is blocking their way. If you don't already know, you can find the street cleaning day for your block on the city web site.


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Posted by Train Neighbor
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 30, 2012 at 10:29 am

I don't think the City has enough staff to clear all of the storm drains during big storms. Palo Alto has over 197 miles of streets!

It would be very helpful if each block had one or two residents willing to clear drains periodically throughout the storm.

I'm putting on my boots and heading out to clear drains now.
Come join me!


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Posted by YSK
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 30, 2012 at 11:05 am

According to the weather guy on CBS5 the Bay Area is the only area of the country whole experience a mild, dry Winter. So this could be it for us.


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Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 30, 2012 at 11:19 am

I noticed one of my good neighbors out this morning, with rake and rainwear, clearing the leaves from the storm drain at the low end of our block. Why is this so hard for people to do? And ditto for parking on street cleaning days--we are fortunate, some cities forbid parking on street cleaning days.


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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2012 at 11:19 am

So 14 years of work on replacing the Chaucer street bridge, and we've made it to the planning phase. Nice work guys! Hopefully after the next flood or two we'll see some real progress.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hydrologists say that the SF Creek backs up starting from 101 then up the line. Chaucer is #4 in the sequence. One of the biggest 'roadblocks' is 101 then it ballons upstream. If the water rushes through a rebuilt Chaucer Bridge downstream and the volume can't make it through University, Newell, and 101, the water just comes over in other places. This happened in 1955.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm

We live next door to a construction site and the workers on that house park in front of my house every weekday, including street cleaning day. I have asked them to park elsewhere on street cleaning day, and they swore at me.
I called the city about it, and they said there is nothing they can do about it, since it is legal for the workers to park there. As a result, I have had to go out and rake out the gutters twice this week.


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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm

@bob - The further downstream it overflows the fewer people are affected. You think it is better if it overflows at Chaucer than if it overflows at 101? Fixing Chaucer was easy, and still couldn't get done.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Here's some pictures of Paly flooding on Wednesday. The floods had gone yesterday and were just as bad today. Web Link


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

@Mom, I feel your pain. You sound like a considerate type, like we are. We have also had discourteous builders/their contractors/renovators/decorators of nearby homes (and sometimes homeowners themselves/absentee homeowners) park often or continuously in front of our house instead of their own (or at least moving vehicles occasionally to share the pain). Here's a novel thought: how 'bout having at least ONE vehicle in one's own driveway? Street cleaining issues are only part of the discourtesy. It makes it difficult to back out of one's own driveway owing to blocking visibility and on occasion, actual blockage of OUR driveway! This concern of some of us in PA has been noted on one or two threads in the recent past. Thankfully, our major problems are in the recent past (though it went on for years), but it is also worth noting people put their giant trash bins in the gutter, blocking the flow of water, with prompt backup where I live. Please don't block the flow of water and ALL of us can rake leaves so that the rainwater can flow.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2012 at 6:41 pm

@Parent, thanks for sharing the dramatic photos - sheesh PALY has been around long enough - what, 100 yrs? - so you'd think the district would have installed decent drainage by now! It's not like it has been raining for days on end.


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Posted by baumgrenze
a resident of Triple El
on Dec 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

baumgrenze is a registered user.

What is going on at Town & Country. At 7:00 AM on Saturday a flood of water was flowing from their parking lot into Embarcadero and down to the Alma Street underpass. Anyone who undertakes to pave over a large area for commercial parking should also undertake to handle the runoff from their project.

Some have recently complained about rude treatment by contractors preventing leaf removal.

1) Take down the name of the general contractor.

2) Contact them and outline the problem and ask their cooperation.

3) If they brush you off, offer to publish their name here. They need community good-will to continue in business.

It is troubling to hear that some neighbors are so intent on the convenience of on-street parking during street sweeping that they would risk the flooding their own residence and that of their neighbors.

Perhaps Palo Alto needs to consider accepting the inconvenience of rainy season street sweeping being done on alternate sides of a street on alternate days. As it stands, some clearly have no place to park if both sides are swept on the same day.


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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I see many people sweeping or blowing leaves from their sidewalks or planting strips into the street. This is against the law according to a municipal ordinance, and it overloads the street sweepers and storm drains. If the leaves fall on your property you should put them in your compost bin.


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Posted by TooManyLeaves
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Agree with Donald. Makes sense.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 4, 2012 at 12:23 am

To baumgrenze:

Re: Water from Town and Country Village: fire hydrant hit

Saturday morning a vehicle hit a Fire Hydrant in town and country village.
I do not know the details, but I saw the situation at about 8am when they were cleaning up the mess.


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