Carsten Frauenheim | Mustang News

Cal Poly, along with all of San Luis Obispo County, is preparing for a large-scale storm. According to the National Weather Service, San Luis Obispo is on flash flood watch from March 20 to 22. Storm total rainfall is expected to range from two to five inches across coastal and valley areas.

According to City of San Luis Obispo Public Works, the city has a storm patrol that looks for hot spots and is currently preparing for the rainstorm.

“Our mission is to dispatch resources and try to protect property,” Deputy Director of Public Works and City Engineer Matt Horn said.

The San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services has urged storm preparations from all residents, and cautioned that no area is immune to flash flooding. They have suggested to always have cell phones charged and ready with backup batteries, and to always be aware of flood and emergency warnings.

“Students should be prepared for wind, localized flooding, debris and power outages,” Horn said.

The Winter Weather Guide provided by the City of San Luis Obispo indicates that Cal Poly’s campus does not fall within flood lines. The City also provides information to help residents stay safe. Here is the advice most applicable to students:

  • Pay attention to flood warnings on local radio and television stations. In San Luis Obispo, the emergency broadcasts can be heard on local radio and television stations.
  • If you must travel during a storm or flood watch, plan an alternate route, if possible, before you leave your home or business. Tell someone where you are going and when you should reach your destination.
  • When driving, be alert to your surroundings and possible hazards. 
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.
  • Do not drive around road barricades.
  • If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and get to higher ground.
  • Do not walk through flowing water. Just six inches of moving water can cause you to lose your footing.
  • Stay away from power and electrical wires. Report downed power lines to Pacific Gas & Electric Company at (800) 743-5000 or the City Police Department at (805) 781-7317.
  • If you’re told to evacuate, do so as quickly as possible. If you heeded earlier advice, your car’s gas tank will be filled and waiting.

University Housing sent out an email to on-campus residents March 19 reminding students to be safe and look out for condensation that could lead to room damages such as mold or leaks. They also recommended that students become aware of their Emergency Preparedness plan, which provides suggested preparations, evacuation maps and further websites to help students stay safe in case of emergencies such as floods.

Public Works can also be reached at the hotline (805) 781-RAIN so the city can address safety concerns due to the storm.

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