Another wet weekend, low chance of flooding

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Anna Feng and Kasmira Lada

As another storm brings moderate rainfall and gusty winds to the Bay Area this weekend, students and staff remain optimistic about staying dry as the flood risk remains low.  

Wooden pallets are laid over a large puddle between the Student Center and the Attendance Office on Friday at Palo Alto High School. Moderate rainfall created wet conditions all week with additional rain expected over the weekend. According to history teacher Adam Yonkers, unpredictable weather and road conditions made him decide to cancel his trip to Lake Tahoe this weekend. “They [weather forecasters] are not sure exactly where the snow levels are going to be,” Yonkers said. “So, if it’s freezing rain, that could be really dangerous. I’m really wanting to go, but I think the prudent and practical decision is to not go.” (Photo: Anna Feng)

According to a City of Palo Alto storm update released at 11:55 a.m. today, steady rain will continue today with lingering showers and possible thunderstorms through Monday evening. Residents are advised to keep existing sandbags in place in case they are needed.

The storm follows a week of rain that continued after a wet and windy last weekend, which brought flooding and street closures to the area. 

Many students were affected by the New Year’s Eve storm including sophomore Kate Xia who said her house is still recovering but that she anticipates flooding from upcoming rainfall to be unlikely as the city is more prepared to handle potential overflows of the reservoirs. 

“The damages to our house are not too bad, but some neighbors and others nearby have much more severe situations,” Xia said. “On Jan. 4, the creek level rose significantly, almost to the point of flooding, but this time the city was monitoring the area and was able to clean up debris and the gutters which prevented another flood.” 

With sunny weather usually being the norm in California, history teacher and Menlo Park resident Adam Yonkers said that recent storms resulted in water damage to his car.

“My car sunroof is starting to leak, and I want to sell the car before the damage happens where I can’t fix the problems,” Yonkers said. 

However, Yonkers said the rain is good in some ways, especially with the drought. 

“I’m really happy to see the rains, filling up the reservoirs, addressing some of the drought issues,” Yonkers said. “I just really wish we could retain some of this rather than it being all gone out into the bay and gutters.”

Parts of Stanford Athletic Field are inaccessible after rainwater from recent storms caused flooding. (Photo: Kasmira Lada)

Xia said implementing proper warnings and better street drains, could have made the city more prepared for the effects of the storms over the past week. 

“If the city is to make any changes, increased drainage would have significantly helped the situation,” Xia said. “With only a few drains on even the larger streets such as Newell, the water coming from the creek was far too much for our current drainage system to handle.”

Sophomore Arun Tamura, whose neighborhood was flooded as a result of last weekend’s storm, said the wet weather has not been ideal, but has made him more ready to handle other storms. 

“I’d rather have clear skies rather than rain, but I’m not worried about the rainfall now that my family and I are more prepared for future floods,” Tamura said.

The National Weather Service anticipates sustained rainfall throughout the weekend, with a flood watch and coastal flood advisory in action until Monday night. 

With colder temperatures also forecasted into next week, Palo Alto is opening their libraries and community centers to residents looking to escape the chill.