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Winter Storm Preparedness

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Are You Prepared for the Winter Storm Season?

While we don’t know exactly how much precipitation we will get this year, we do know that living in an area of relative isolation means we must be prepared to be on our own for up to several days in the event of a severe storm or natural disaster.  Are you ready?


Check list suggestions from the Town of Portola Valley's Emergency Preparedness Committee and Public Works Department (for a printable pdf checklist, click here)

 Go to and sign up to receive alerts on your cell phone and email. You will be notified quickly of floods, fires, road closures, mountain lion sightings, planned events with traffic disruptions, etc.

 Tune your portable and car radios to 1680 AM for emergency broadcasts from the Town of Portola Valley. To listen to a streaming online broadcast, visit

 Plan now for extended power outages that may last several days or longer.

 When roads are closed due to flooding, trees down or mudslides, you may need to leave your area by a different route than you are accustomed to. Learn these routes now, before you need them. Make arrangements to temporarily stay with family or friends should you need to evacuate your home.

 Always maintain at least a half a tank of gas in your vehicles.

 30 minute storm drain prep checklist 

 Maintain emergency supplies at home 

 Maintain a “Go-Bag” near exit door or in your car 


Contact Information

  • For emergencies dial 911
  • Town of Portola Valley- Public Works Department (650) 851-1700 x 200
  • Online maintenance reporting
  • San Mateo County Sheriff (650) 363-4911
  • Woodside Portola Valley Fire District (650) 851-1594

Homeowner Recommendations

  Fix leaks in ceilings/roofs or replace roof

  Seal foundation cracks with mortar or masonry caulking

  Invest in a battery-powered sump pump and test pumps

  Move expensive items to safer location

  Anchor fuel tanks so they won’t float away

  Stock up on sandbags

  Take digital pictures of insurance policies for storage


30 minute home storm drain inspection checklist

  Prepare with rain boots, gloves, flashlight, rake, and shovel

  Check if rain gutters and roof drains are clear of debris

  Walk around property and inspect all storm pipes,  drains, grates and remove and dispose of all tree lose debris that could backup water flow

  Check all surface drains and French drains

  Inspect drainage ditches through your property to determine that they are free and clear.  Inspect with your neighbors.

  Check all retaining walls for cracks, subsidence, overtopping, and drainage

  Clean storm drain pipes under your driveway. You should clearly see daylight at the other end of the pipe.

  If a storm drain pipe or drainage ditch is blocked by dirt, labor may be needed to dig out the outlet to let it flush out

  Re-inspect and clean the above items during and after heavy storm events throughout the rain season

  Inspect hillsides for erosion. Consider using straw     wattles and straw erosion blankets for problem hillsides

  Check watercourses. Watercourses on your property shall be kept free of debris according to Town ordinance


“Go-Bag” Near Exit Door or in Car

 Prescription medications  Extra eyeglasses      Copies of important documents
 Fully charged electronics  Matches or lighter  Flashlights with extra batteries  
 Bottled Water  Portable radio with extra batteries      Extra undergarments and socks
 Sweater or sweatshirt   Writing pad and pencils     Pet leashes/food/medicines
 Food bars/nuts/snacks  Cash  Space blanket
 Towel  Gloves  Multi-tool
 First Aid kit   50’ rope    Rain poncho
 Batteries  Hat 


Emergency Supplies at Home

  One gallon of water per person per day for up to 5-7 days

  Enough food (not requiring refrigeration) for up to 5-7 days

  Plenty of battery powered flashlights/lanterns

  Portable radio, battery and/or crank powered

  First Aid kit and extra batteries for lights and radios

  An exit plan for your family to meet if separated

  Plans for feeding/evacuating pets & large animals

  Camping gear/tents (for backyard if house uninhabitable)

  Trash bags (WAG bags preferably) to line toilet for waste disposal if sewer and/or water is out of service


Flooded streets and returning home after a flood

  Do not drive where water is covering the road. You can be     

     stranded or trapped.  Parts of the road may be washed out.

  Do not try to cross waters of unknown depth. The water may be much deeper than it looks. Avoid dips and low spots.

  If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as

     possible. Floodwater can rise rapidly and sweep a car away.

  Return home when authorities say it is safe.

  Let qualified specialists inspect your home and make repairs to utility and structural damage before re-entering.



Portola Valley Sandbag Station Location

765 Portola Road, Portola Valley Town Center along its southern driveway, across from the basketball courts. The station is accessible daily and will remain available through the end of the rainy season with sandbags, sand, and shovels.  Please visit for more information.


How you can help the Town’s Public Works Department

You can help the Town by keeping an eye on the street drains and small drainage ditches in front of your home or on your street. Many drainage problems are caused by floating leaf debris and silt blocking a drain entrance and can be easily removed with a rake or shovel in a matter of minutes. By stopping blockages before they begin, your help would save the Town a lot of time and potential flooding of the street. The Town also has a volunteer Public Works Committee that assists after hours to address street issues. Report any maintenance issues on PV Connect. Sign up here to report issues online or on your phone.

Larger maintenance problems should be reported to the Public Works Department at 650-851-1700 x 200 or



For more information on how to prepare for winter storm emergencies:

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•  flood-hazard-data-0

•  Current fire dispatch response times:


Get Involved

If you are interested in joining the Citizens Emergency Response Preparedness Program which serves Portola Valley, please go to:

If you are interested in joining the Town’s Volunteer Public Works Committee, please email  

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