We have had more than our fair share of much needed rain so far this winter. The storm of December 6, 2018 was a doozy, leaving Coronado with more than four inches of rain in under six hours. “No level of preparation could have prepared the city for that volume in that time frame,” said Janine Zuniga, Senior Management Analyst. A state of local emergency was declared to county officials on the night of the storm by City Manager Blair King. An Emergency Operation Center was activated, and police responded to 67 storm-related calls. Since then, we have had much smaller rain storms, albeit with 50 to 60 miles an hour winds at times, and there are more storms predicted on the horizon.
Councilmember Bill Sandke commended all the City employees for their Herculean effort during the storms. “I want to especially recognize Todd Tanghe for his electrical ingenuity in getting the Parker Pump Station back up and running during the December 6 storm,” he commented. He is currently working with Senator Toni Atkins’ office to ask for Office of Emergency Services (OES) monies for reimbursement in response to residents’ needs. He recently got a quote for flood insurance for his own home and feels it would be prudent for others to consider it.
After the most recent storm, City Manager Blair King reported, “While the rain was heavy at times and the winds strong, relatively minor damage and flooding resulted from a large storm that hit San Diego County beginning on Wednesday, February 13. The worst of the rainfall was felt on Thursday, February 14. The rain caused known leaks in the roof at the Community Center to close the gymnasium. Permanent repairs were already planned. Due to strong winds, a tree fell on a home in the 900 block of Tenth Street. An initial assessment revealed relatively minor damage to the roof and tiles, and no one was injured. The City monitored areas that tend to flood, and crews were prepared to close them if needed.”
Working with a variety of city personnel, Zuniga provided answers to storm-related questions that people have been asking.
Q. What is the city doing to lessen damages from future storms?
A. The City is working on compiling a list of what went well during the storm, what could have been done better, and items that didn’t happen during this event, but could have, and will be assessing lessons learned from them as well. A significant finding from the December 6 storm was that its high intensity, across the entire Village area simultaneously, caused more immediate response requirement than there was staff to respond.
Q. Has the City adequately maintained gutter cleanups, storm drains and pumps in order to avoid these types of damages?
A. The City has a thorough storm drain system maintenance and repair plan. All storm drain components, inlets, diverters, pipes, gutters and pump stations are routinely inspected and maintained.
Q. Many people have asked if the City is responsible for any damages?
A. There was a total of 10 claims submitted after the December 6 storm: seven for residential, two commercial and one vehicle. The City reports that five claims have been denied to date. This is based on the findings of the City’s internal investigations.
Q. Besides placing sandbags around homes and businesses, what other pro-active things can residents and business owners do to mitigate future damages from storms?
A. During the rainy season, usually December through March, residents should take extra precautions to ensure that there are no loose or unattached items on their property or parkway that could float away and possibly obstruct a storm drain component during an intense rain event. Taking and properly disposing of leaves and yard waste is also important. During the rain, residents and motorists should avoid driving through surface-flooded areas. The wave action that results from vehicles transiting the standing water increases the risk of property damage to the surrounding area. Residents should also try to park their vehicles in their driveways or in a way such as to keep gutters clear and avoid potential tree hazards.
The City provides sand bags to residents at four locations in town: First and Alameda Boulevard, Fourth Street and Alameda, North Beach and the Cays near the Fire Station. They are responsive to residents’ needs, especially when property is in danger of damage during storms. During business hour through the week, Public Services can be reached at (619) 522-7380 or after hours, call the non-emergency Police line at (619) 522-9350.