Preparing for Rain

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Residents and businesses encouraged to plan ahead

Heavier than normal rain can cause flooding, sinkholes, debris flows, prolonged power outages and dangerous driving conditions. The city has already taken steps to help keep San Marcos safe, but we need your help too.

Visit the Ready San Diego website for emergency preparedness tips, resources and other important information.

What can I do to prepare?
Is the City offering free sandbags to residents? 
Road and city facility closures - what roads and city facilities have been affected? 
Where can I report flooding, fallen trees, light outages or debris in the roadway?   
What is the City doing to prepare for rain?  
How do I stay connected during an emergency?   
Real-time rainfall---see current San Marcos weather conditions      
Unplanned power outages- see real-time power outage information  
Regional information--what about information for areas outside the city limits?  

To report debris in the roadway, flooding, signal outages or other issues, visit For more information, contact the city's Public Works Department at (760) 752-7550.

What can I do to prepare?

Whenever heavy rainfall is predicted, all residents are urged to refresh family emergency preparedness plans and take steps to prepare their property for potential flooding. Residents can inspect properties and homes to ensure that roofs are in good condition, rain gutters are cleaned out and storm drains are clear of debris.

Because water, mud, and debris will flow downhill, residents should also consider using mulch, terracing the slope or planting a variety of groundcovers or shrubs to prevent erosion that could damage your home or building, inspect your property’s drainage channels and culverts routinely to make sure they are clear, at a minimum before and after a storm.

Before the flood: simple steps to prepare for potential flooding

  • Keep copies of important documents such as mortgage papers, deeds, passports, and bank information in your home in a watertight container or sealed plastic bag, and in a secure place outside the home like a bank deposit box.
  • Save receipts for expensive household items as proof of the original costs.
  • Take and store photos of your valuable possessions with your other important documents.
  • Make itemized lists of other possessions not already listed and photographed. The more comprehensive the list, the easier it will be to file a claim.
  • Always keep your policy and insurance agent’s contact information handy in the event you need to file a claim.

During a flood: tips for staying safe during a flood
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and two feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
  • Be especially vigilant for debris flows in and around past fire areas as these spaces have not been truly rain tested in several years.
For more information about protecting your property, please contact the city's Public Works Department, (760) 752-7550.


City to offer free sandbags to San Marcos residents

The City of San Marcos is offering San Marcos residents free, fill-your-own sandbags to help protect streets from flooding and control soil erosion.

The sandbags can be filled and picked up at the southwest corner of the Public Works Division parking lot, 201 Mata Way; maximum 20 bags per household.

Heavy rains can cause soil erosion especially in areas not covered by lawns, trees, shrubs and plants. Water runoff, and especially mud and debris flows, can damage individual homes and properties and create even wider destruction by flooding roadways and clogging storm drains and culverts.

Click here to learn how to fill and properly place sandbags.

For more information about the city’s sandbag program, please call the City’s Public Works Department at (760) 752-7550.

Where can I report flooding, fallen trees and debris in the roadway?

Residents can report non-emergency flooding, fallen trees, light outages or debris in the roadway to the city's Public Works Department at (760) 752-7550 or by visiting,

Crews are standing by to address non-emergency related issues like light outages, debris in roadways and other non-emergent fire and public safety concerns.

How does the city prepare?

 City clears drains and culverts
 Before  After
Location 25 Before Location 25 After
Palmac Before Palmac After
Dolphin 5 Before Dolphin 5 After
San Marcos actively prepares for potential flooding  and other weather related emergencies to help reduce the impact to life and property from potential flooding. Some of these action items include:
  • Public Works crews inspect and clear San Marcos drainage inlets, channels and culverts while identifying areas that are more susceptible to flooding and erosion.
  • The San Marcos Fire Department and emergency operations personnel have deployment plans and flood related emergency response plans in case heavy rainfall produces significant flooding.
  • Burn scars left by the May 2014 Cocos Fire are monitored as these areas can be at increased risk for debris flow. City crews place stormwater protection measures such as fiber rolls and hydro-mulch to protect against soil erosion.

  • Finally, the City's Real Property Services Division has inspected roofs, roof drains and rain gutters on all public facilities to ensure they are clear of debris and are in good condition to withstand rain.
The City of San Marcos will closely monitor rainfall in high risk areas throughout San Marcos during storms along with the condition of soil erosion protection tools put in place.

How do I stay connected during an emergency?

Comm GraphicResidents can subscribe to e-alerts by visiting During an emergency, residents are encouraged to check the city's website frequently, follow the City of San Marcos on facebook and twitter (@sanmarcoscity), and tune-in to radio station AM 1610 to stay updated with the latest safety information.

To receive up-to-date emergency notifications, residents are encouraged to register their mobile phones for the AlertSanDiego emergency notification system by visiting and also download the SDEmergency app available for iPhone and Android mobile devices.


Alert San Diego, emergency notifications
San Diego County Emergency Site
FEMA, public service announcement
Flood Maps
Look up your address to find your flood risk
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, research, forecasts and observations
National Weather Service, preparedness resources
Winter Weather Outlook, National Weather Service public service announcement
People with disabilities or with access and functional needs
Spanish-language preparedness information Listo San Diego