Flood Info & Tips

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Flood Information & Preparedness Tips

Flooding in Calistoga just since the 1993 Floods has resulted in over half a million dollars in damages to public property alone.

Floods are classified as either slow-rise or flash floods. Slow-rise floods may be preceded by warning time lasting from hours to days. Flash floods are the more difficult to prepare for due to the extremely short warning time, if any time is given at all. Flash flood warnings usually require immediate evacuation.

A slow rise flood situation will evolve through a series of two stages as indicated below:

WATCH: Severe weather is possible within the designated watch area. BE ALERT!

WARNING: Severe weather has been reported or is imminent. TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY !!

A flood or flash flood WARNING requires you to take IMMEDIATE ACTION as a flood or flash flood is occurring or is imminent. If you are in a low area, especially near a creek, stream, or rifer, get to higher ground immediately.

Never attempt to cross a running creek, stream, or river (on foot or in a vehicle) during a Flood or Flash Flood event. It takes only six inches of water to carry you off your feet.

Stage I WARNING (flooding expected)

River level is 9 1/2 feet and expected to rise. The City Manager (Director of Emergency Services) is notified. Decision is made to place Emergency Operations Center personnel on standby status. Patrols of low-lying areas are commenced by Police and Fire units.

Stage II WARNING (flooding occurs)

River level is 13 1/2 feet and expected to rise. All emergency personnel of the EOC are activated. City Emergency Operations Plan placed into action. Evacuation of low-lying areas is commenced.

Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)

Incident Command System (ICS)

The City of Calistoga operates the Incident Command System (ICWS under the framework of the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS). SEMS is the result of statewide legislation that establishes an emergency response organization, activated as needed, to provide an effective response to multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction emergencies. The five levels include:

  • Field
  • Local Government
  • Operational Area
  • Region
  • State

ICS is an action plan followed by the Emergency Operations Center staff to respond to specific incidents such as flooding. The Incident Commander is responsible for developing an action plan for each particular event.

Local Contacts

Public Information Center: (This number will be designated and activated ONLY when the EOC is activated)

Public Information: (General) 942-2807 City Clerk's Office or 942-2800

Police Department: 942-2810 - or - 942-2811 (Please do not
dial 911 unless you are experiencing a life threatening emergency)

Fire Department: 942-2840

PG & E: 1-800-743-5000

Red Cross: 963-2717 1-800-RED-CROSS

FEMA: 1-800-462-9029 1-800-525-0321

Local Radio: KVON 1440 AM KVYN 99.3 FM

Local Television: Channel 28

Checklist for Evacuation

Before a flood forces you to evacuate your home, you should have information and supplies ready to take with you in case your home and belongings are damaged or destroyed.

  • Battery operated radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Three day supply of nonperishable foods and water (one gallon per person per day)
  • Essential prescription and nonprescription medications
  • Paper cups and plates and plastic utensils
  • Nonelectric can opener
  • Utility knife
  • Toilet paper, towelettes
  • Soap, liquid detergent
  • Feminine supplies
  • Personal Hygiene items
  • Contact lenses, extra eyeglasses
  • Supplies for dentures
  • Complete change of clothing and footwear for each person
  • Study shoes or work boots
  • Rain gear
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change
  • Whistle
  • Entertainment - books and games


Other Hints

  • Keep your car fueled - if electric power is cut off, filling stations may not be able to operate
  • Purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program Hotline: 1-800-427-4661
  • Elevate structure electric panels to at least 12 inches above the base flood elevation level
  • Anchor fuel tanks to prevent them from floating and tipping over
  • Elevate washers and dryers by placing them on a raised platform 12 inches above the base flood elevation.
  • Relocate water and central heating systems out of areas that may be subject to flooding
  • Don't store hazardous materials in flood-prone areas.

There are information booklets available from the Emergency Services Coordinator, Joe Russo, at 707-942-2840 or email These booklets/pamphlets include:

  • Tips on Handling Your Flood Insurance Claim
  • Can Your Home Pass the Winter Survival Test?
  • Protecting Your Home From Flood Damage
  • Flash Flood Awareness Packet
  • Emergency Preparedness Checklist
  • What you need to Know About Federal Disaster Assistance and Federal Flood Insurance
  • Flash Floods and Floods…the Awesome Power (A Preparedness Guide)


Store drinking water in closed, clean containers in case water service is interrupted (14 gallons of water will allow you to use 2 gallons per day for a week)

If flooding is likely, and time permits, move valuable household possessions to the upper floors of your home.

If advised to leave your home, move to a safe area before access is cut off by floodwater.

Establish an out-of-state "family contact" so that friends and relatives will know whom to call to gain information about where you are.

Before leaving home, disconnect all electrical appliances or turn of all electric circuits at the fuse panel by pulling the main switch. Shut of gas service at the meter and turn off water service at the main valve.

Unless, otherwise requested, please remain in your home.

Do not travel unless necessary. Especially stay clear of areas prone to flooding. Public safety crews will be doing all they can to protect citizens and property in flooding area; "onlookers" prohibit our city crews from helping those that need assistance.


Sandbags are available at the city's Corporation Yard located at 415 Washington Street when a local emergency has been declared and the city's EOC is activated. There is no charge for this service.


Avoid areas that are subject to sudden flooding - this includes driving and walking.

Do not try to cross a flowing stream where water is above your keens (even water as low as 6 inches deep may cause you to be swept away by strong currents).

Do not try to drive over a flooded road.

If your car stalls, abandon it IMMEDIATELY and seek higher ground.

Do not "sightsee" in flooded areas. Do not try to enter areas blocked off by local authorities.

Keep children with you, teenagers in particular like to go observe flooding area. This not only places them in jeopardy, but also inhibits public safety personnel from assisting those that need it.

Avoid unnecessary trips. If you must travel during the storm, dress in warm, loose layered clothing. Advise others of your destination.

Use the telephone ONLY for family emergencies or to report dangerous conditions.

Stay tuned to KVON for emergency information and instructions from the EOC.

If you are requested to evacuate, you should either make arrangements to stay with friends or relatives, or in a shelter set up by the city in cooperation with the Red Cross. Be sure to bring any necessary medication and a change of clothing with you.

Joe Russo, Emergency Services Coordinator
Phone: 707-942-2840
Fax: 707-942-4863