Storm Watch: Solano NewsNet to offer live coverage of upcoming storm


Solano NewsNet will begin offering rolling coverage of the upcoming winter storm, starting Tuesday evening.

The coverage will start hours before the storm — which meteorologists are describing as an atmospheric river event combined with a bomb cyclone — is set to cross through much of Northern California.

The storm is expected to bring significant wind and heavy precipitation, which has the potential to cause catastrophic flooding, property damage and loss of life.

Solano NewsNet suspended operations in September, pending a review of the news organization’s long-term business strategy. That review was completed last month, and the news outlet was expected to start publishing again in May.

“The severity of the upcoming storm coupled with the likely impact on our community warrants the immediate return to newsgathering and reporting for Solano NewsNet,” publisher Matthew Keys said on Tuesday. “The restart will allow us to cover the storm and its aftermath, providing critical, real-time information across all our publishing platforms, as part of our mission to provide the community with facts-first, reliable reports.”

During the coverage, Solano NewsNet will publish information on its website, through e-mail provider Substack and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Solano NewsNet’s Twitter profile will offer the most-recent updates; the news outlet will publish urgent information to Facebook and Twitter as well.

In addition to Solano NewsNet, residents and businesses are strongly urged to sign up for the county’s emergency warning notification system, Alert Solano, which provides free updates by phone, e-mail and text message based on a residential or business address.


Forecasters: Prepare for the Worst

In a forecast bulletin late Monday evening, a National Weather Service meteorologist described the upcoming storm as worse than one that crossed through the region during the New Year’s holiday weekend.

“This will likely be one of the most-impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while,” the forecaster wrote. “This is truly a brutal system that we are looking at, and needs to be taken seriously.”

The forecaster said widespread flooding, washed out hillsides, power outages and loss of life are all likely scenarios with this storm, which is expected to undergo rapid intensification before it crosses over land.

The National Weather Service office in the Bay Area has issued a flood watch from Tuesday evening through Thursday morning for all Bay Area counties and the Central Coast. Likewise, the weather office in Sacramento — which covers Solano County — has issued a flash flood watch and a high wind warning from Wednesday morning through at least Thursday evening, though forecasters think the warning periods could be extended based on conditions.

Locally, wind speed will start to increase Wednesday morning, peaking in the evening hours. Sustained winds between 25 miles per hour and 50 miles per hour are expected, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour at times.

“These strong winds, coupled with saturated ground, will likely bring down trees and cause the potential for widespread power outages,” a forecaster in Sacramento said on Wednesday. “This will also cause difficult travel for high-profile vehicles such as trucks and RVs.”

The wind is expected to diminish by Thursday.

Rain is expected to be between 1 and 3 inches with this storm. The rain, coupled with last weekend’s storm, could cause local rivers to reach flood stage. In Guerneville, forecasters are concerned about the Russian River and its potential impact on the local community.

“This will be a pretty intense storm,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California in Los Angeles who runs the blog Weather West, said on Tuesday.


Local Preparation

Benicia officials are making sand bags available at City’s Corporation Yard, 2400 East Second Street and at the East E Street Parking Lot across from First Street. Flooding and other issues can be reported through the SeeClickFix website by clicking or tapping here (free account required).

In Dixon, sand is available at the corner of A Street and Jackson Street. Sand and sand bags are also available at the Dixon Fire Station, 205 Ford Way, from Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Residents are asked to bring their own shovels. Flooding and down trees can be reported by calling 707-678-7050 or 707-678-7080.

In Fairfield, local officials have closed the Rockville Hills Regional Park and Open Spaces until at least Monday, January 9. Sandbags are available at the Public Works Corporation Yard at 420 Gregory Street in the city until Thursday. Instances of localized flooding should be called in to 707-428-7407.

Many residents of Rio Vista live within a designated floodplain. For this reason, the city is making sand bags available at the Waterfront Promenade, One Main Street. City officials also encourage residents to download the Ready for Flood booklet.

Preparation information for Suisun City residents was not available on the official social media pages for the city or its first responder agencies as of Tuesday evening.

The City of Vacaville did not have current information about sand bags available online as of Tuesday evening; in the past, sand bags were made available at Irene Larsen Park, 1800 Alamo Drive. Flooding should be called in to the city’s public works department at 707-469-6500.

In Vallejo, city officials have opened an overnight warming shelter for unhoused residents at the King Community Center, 545 Magazine Street. SolTrans will provide transportation for residents who need to travel to or from the warming shelter. Free sand and sand bags are available at 450 Ryder Street. To report flooding, call 707-644-8949.

All residents and businesses are encouraged to sign up for Alert Solano, the county’s emergency notification system, for urgent information about power outages, flooding, road closures and evacuation warnings. Alert Solano provides messages by phone call, text message and e-mail. To sign up for free, click or tap here.

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