Flood Preparedness

Flood Control Zone Winter Preparedness Updates

The Flood Control District prepares for every year as though it is an “El Niño year.” Although two major flooding years in Marin's history occurred during years with El Niño episodes (1997/98 and 1982/83), it is not unusual to experience major flooding in the absence of El Niño, such as in 2005/06. Flooding can even occur during a drought year such as last year, when the County suffered some of its worst flooding damage since 2006.

It is for these reasons that the District follows a consistent system of facility and creek maintenance each year which mitigates the risk of flooding. We conduct regular inspections of the creeks, floodwalls, and levees within our jurisdiction, and frequently test our pumps, motors, and generators. Creeks, drainage ditches, pipes, trash racks, and pump wet wells are cleared of vegetation, sediment, and trash in the fall and throughout the winter as needed. A flood control zone-specific update regarding maintenance, storm preparedness and response in your local area is provided below:

Real Time Precipitation and Stream Gauges

Picture of a computer screen with rainfall graph

MCFCWCD operates and maintains 2 full weather stations (rainfall, temperature, barometric pressure, etc.), 4 stream gaging stations and 4 precipitation gages in Marin County. Placed in strategic locations, they allow us to track the intensity of winter storms as they approach and monitor the effects of the storms in critical areas. These stations provide real-time weather data, via radio transmissions, to our receiver on Mt Tam. From Mt Tam the data is transmitted through an internet connection to a OneRain cloud server and displayed on the Marin County OneRain website. Data is recorded and provided as historic data through the website. You can see the location of these stations by clicking the "Maps" link on the menu on the left panel.

Additionally, the OneRain website contains links to data from important sites that can be used to track and plan for flood events. Weather links, tides, and other relevant information can be found here:


The District makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, with respect to data accuracy, completeness, timeliness, reliability, quality, or usefulness. Data are provided “as-is” and should not be relied upon for making critical decisions. The District assumes no liability for any damage to or loss of property, or personal injury or loss of life, which may arise out of use of data.

Total rainfall at our gauges for the past rain year (10/01/2014 to 09/30/2015) are:

Novato Creek 28.8
Kentfield 31.76
Upper Coyote Creek 27.46
Mill Valley 26.04
Pt Reyes Station 28.1
Dillon Beach (Oceana Marin) 23.29

All values are inches.

Are you Prepared?

Learn about what you can do to get prepare before, during, and after a storm with the Winter is Coming brochure.

Graphic of brochure cover

Alert Marin

Sign up at www.alertmarin.org to get emergency alerts


Be Prepared, Day and Night

When you hear on the radio or TV that there is a “Flood Watch” or a “Flood Warning”
it’s already too late to begin preparing for the high water. Please prepare for the possibility of flooding ahead of time. Following are some things to do now as well as resources and links to helpful information:

  • Rake your leaves and place into your green bin (keep out of gutters and storm drains)
  • Sign up to receive emergency calls, text, and/or email notification alerts using Marin County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS). Sign up for TENS by clicking here
  • To check where to purchase sand bags in your area, please visit the Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services webpage available by clicking here. To obtain further information on training and education to keep you and your family safe, warm, and fed in the event of a flood please visit the website readymarin.org
  • Buy a NWS radio (see below for a recommendation) to be ready for weather updates
  • Put a flashlight, radio and spare batteries in an easy place to find if the power goes out
  • Remove hazardous materials (paints/chemicals, etc.) from flood prone areas such as garages and sheds

Picture of a Midland weather radio

The National Weather Service recommends having a NOAA weather radio, such as the Midland WR-100B SAME Weather and All Hazards Alert Monitor. NOAA weather radios can be purchased online or at a local electronics store.

Flooding Solution Videos

We've added a few helpful videos that share the experience and wisdom of our neighbors in Napa who have developed simple and reliable methods to protect their stores and merchandise.

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned from Marin Watershed Program on Vimeo.

Flooding Solutions: Sandbagging

Sandbagging from Marin Watershed Program on Vimeo.

Flood Proofing using a Door Dam

Shackford Door Dam from Marin Watershed Program on Vimeo.

All the videos above were produced by Jerry Kay of MediaINTERCHANGE, under contract with the Marin County's Channel G.

In addition, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) produced a flood fighting video on YouTube for emergency response training, featuring the California Conservation Corps (CCC).

Flood Response Checklists and Guides for Homeowners

graphic of checklist

Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist

Preparing for the Next Flood: A Checklist for Homeowners

Homeowners Guide to Flood Preparedness (Marin Resource Conservation District)

Sandbagging Techniques

sandbag graphic

Boulder County Homeowner's Guide for Floods

US Army Corps : Sandbagging Techniques

Living Behind a Levee

So, You Live Behind a Levee! (ASCE)

Fact Sheet: Living Behind Levees (FEMA)

Levee Myths and Facts (US Army Corps)

Living with Levees (FEMA)