Downtown Berkeley the afternoon of Jan. 4, 2023. Credit: Kelly Sullivan

A storm is forecast to bring up to a quarter inch of scattered rain in Berkeley between Monday night and Wednesday afternoon.

There’s a possibility of small hail and thunderstorms, the National Weather Service says, and wind gusts are expected to reach up to 30 mph in the city. 

“This is kind of a rare system to come through,” said Brayden Murdock, a NWS meteorologist, noting that the storm originated in Canada. “Usually, we expect low pressures like this to come through earlier in the year.”

Expect temperatures to drop to the upper 40s to low 60s in Berkeley through Thursday, after which skies will begin to clear up. 

Widespread flooding isn’t anticipated, as rain totals are forecast to remain relatively light, but the NWS isn’t completely ruling out the possibility of localized flooding in individual areas with heavier rain. 

Berkeley has received 39 inches of rain since October, according to a West Berkeley rain gauge. Much of that rain fell during the December, January and March atmospheric rivers. April was relatively dry, with just 0.18 inch of rain. 

The active storm season has refilled East Bay reservoirs and brought most of California out of drought, according to the U.S. drought monitor.

Wildflowers dotted the banks of the almost-full-to-the-brim Briones reservoir on Saturday. It was 99% full as of Sunday, according to EBMUD. Credit: Zac Farber

Berkeley storm safety tips

We compiled advice from experts on how to stay safe before, during and after storms.

Sources: City of Berkeley, Alameda County, National Weather Service,, PG&E, CalTrans, Berkeley Wildfire Guide

How do I prepare for a storm?

  • Protect your home from flooding by clearing storm drains, cleaning gutters and downspouts before the storm arrives. Volunteers with Berkeley’s adopt-a-drain program have access to the city’s reflective vests and garbage bags; there are currently around 30 storm drain volunteers, with new applications still being screened, albeit slowly due to staff vacancies. Learn more about the adopt-a-drain program.
  • Sandbags can redivert the flow of water and minimize damage. Berkeley residents can take up to five free sandbags from the city’s Corporation Yard at 1326 Allston Way on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

How do I prepare for potential power outages?

  • Prepare portable phone battery packs and flashlights. Outdoor power generators can be a good option, especially for those with electricity-powered medical devices, but follow manufacturer instructions carefully to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If a power outage occurs, call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the outage and unplug most electrical appliances, leaving one lamp on to notify you when power is restored. Look up estimated restoration times on PG&E’s outage map.
  • Keep your fridge and freezer doors closed. If you experience power outage-related food spoilage, file a PG&E claim.
  • Read more tips for preparing for power outages

Where do I sign up to be alerted of a storm?

  • Sign up for Alameda County’s emergency alert system, AC Alert. The city’s website contains more information on how to get emergency notifications.
  • Check the National Weather Service’s Bay Area website and Twitter account for up-to-the-minute weather information.

Where can I go to stay safe during a storm?

  • Berkeley operates an emergency storm shelter at the old City Hall, but it’s frequently at its maximum capacity of 19 residents. Call Dorothy Day House at 510-495-0131 to see if space is available. 
  • When temperatures drop below 45 degrees or when there is a more than a 50% chance of precipitation, you can head to the North Berkeley Senior Center emergency warming center, which opens doors at 6:30 p.m. and closes the next morning. The warming center can accommodate up to 88 people and provides clean clothes and socks (when available), PPE, snacks and weekend meals.
  • Public libraries in Berkeley are open during business hours, Monday to Saturday, and offer bathrooms, water and temporary respite indoors. A full list of libraries and hours is available online

How do I report storm damage?

  • Residents and businesses can call 311 to report storm-related issues “such as a clogged drain, culvert, inlet, or creek; a fallen tree or major limb; a malfunctioning traffic signal; or flooding that enters a travel lane.” 
  • After hours, call 510-981-6620, to report clogged storm drains, flooding, lights or traffic signals and 510-981-6660 to report downed trees.

What if I’m driving during a storm?

  • If you must drive, check current highway conditions before heading out.
  • If a traffic light is out, treat the intersection as a four-way stop. 
  • Call 911 if you encounter downed power lines.
  • Severe storms often cause flooding in intersections and roadways in West Berkeley. If you encounter a flooded road while driving, the city wants you to “turn around, don’t drown,” as water can be deeper than it appears.
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Iris Kwok covers the environment for Berkeleyside through a partnership with Report for America. A former music journalist, her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, San Francisco Examiner...