Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Storm coming: Driving tips and where to get sandbags

Gig Conaughton

County of San Diego Communications Office

Weather forecasters say Tropical Cyclone Hilary could bring rains and wind to San Diego County and Southern California, and county and Cal Fire officials are offering advice and free sandbags for people living in the unincorporated county.

Forecasters say Tropical Cyclone Hilary, now gaining strength of the coast of Baja California, could weaken significantly by the time it reaches Southern California. However, they said it could still bring heavy rains and potential flooding to parts of San Diego County.

County Emergency Services and Public Works road crews say people should stay alert and take precautions on the roads and offered the following tips.

Be careful on the roads. Avoid driving in heavy rain conditions but if the trip is necessary:

1. Slow down to avoid getting into an accident. It takes longer to stop when roads are wet. Allow yourself at least an extra 15 minutes or so to arrive at your destination to adjust for slower traffic.

2. Turn on your headlights to see better and make it easier for other drivers to see you. It's the law.

3. Try to drive toward the middle lanes as water tends to gather in outside lanes.

4. Defog your windows for better visibility. Rain can cause windows to fog up. Along the same lines, check your windshield wipers preferably before it rains again and replace them as needed.

5. Avoid driving through deep water because it can affect your brakes. If you cannot avoid it, test your brakes afterward to make sure they've dried out and are working properly.

6. Turn around, don't drown. In heavy rains, never drive through a flooded roadway if you cannot see the pavement. Even a few inches of water running at the right velocity can sweep a car, and even a truck, and its occupants off the roadway and downstream. The same tip applies to trying to walk or swim across a flooded roadway.

7. Give the cars in front of you extra distance. The spray from their vehicles - particularly from larger trucks and buses - can hamper your vision. And giving extra space to the guy in front of you also gives you more time to brake or adjust if you need to.

8. Keep calm, don't oversteer or stomp on the brakes if you start to hydroplane or skid when your tires lose traction with the wet road. The Department of Motor Vehicles says keep the steering wheel straight and take your foot off the accelerator so your vehicle can slow down slowly.

9. Stay focused. Remember, it's illegal, and dangerous, to try to text or use a hand-held cell phone when you're driving.

10. Slow down for the cone zone if you see highway or road workers ahead or to your side. Watch out for DPW crews and equipment.

As they have in the past, the county and Cal Fire are providing free bags and/or sand at numerous fire stations for people who live in the unincorporated areas.

Rain can cause flooding and erosion, particularly in areas that are not covered by plants, landscaping, grass and trees. Rain runoff can sweep topsoil, mud, plant material and debris off land and downstream where it can damage homes, clog culverts and storm drains, and flood and damage roadways.

Sand and bags, or bags alone, will be available for unincorporated residents at the fire stations located below.

People should call ahead to double-check availability and remember to bring a shovel to fill the bags. Some stations may have a limited supply.

Sand and Bags

• De Luz: 39431 De Luz Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028 P: 760-728-2422

• Fallbrook: Pala Mesa Fire Station #4, 4375 Pala Mesa Drive, Fallbrook, CA 92028, P: 760-723-2024

For more information about how to protect yourself and your property, visit


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