Palo Alto High School's News and Features Publication

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

Verde Magazine

City works to prevent winter flooding

Ajin Jeong
RAINY CAMPUS — Students roam around a rainy Palo Alto High School campus. Following severe rain last year, there are concerns of a similar event this year. “The chances of that [severe rain] happening in any given year is still a crystal ball exercise,” said Margaret Bruce, Executive Director of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority.

The city of Palo Alto is taking steps to prevent rain damage and flooding following severe storms last winter.

Much of last winter’s flooding was caused by flooding at the San Francisquito Creek, where many preventative measures are being put in place.

Margaret Bruce, the executive director of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, an organization that aims to reduce flood risk around the creek, said that the cities of Palo Alto and East Palo Alto are working to avoid future flooding.

“East Palo Alto and Palo Alto have large equipment stationed at or nearby bridges,” Bruce said. “If there is vegetation and debris that pile up against the bridge headwalls, they can just use excavators to pick that large floating debris material out of the creek.”

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Following last years’ severe storms, Palo Alto streets and homes were flooded in addition to the San Francisquito Creek. This was in part due to effects of drought, causing weakening in the trees that line the creek and prevent flooding.

“There are trees and plants that grow in and along the banks,” Bruce said. “After 10 years of drought, there were a lot of very weak trees that were hit pretty hard last winter.”

Bruce also stressed the importance of education and preparedness among residents in the case of a flood.

“All citizens, every resident of any community where flooding is a potential, should prepare themselves,” Bruce said. “Have an evacuation plan, and have a go bag. Understand where your property is with relation to the floodplain. If you either live in a floodplain or have to cross a potentially flooded area to get to school to get to work, understand where else you can go to avoid that flooded area.”