County Offers Free Sandbags With Rain in the Forecast

With forecasters once more predicting earlier-than-usual rainfall around San Diego County this week, it may be a good time to pick up some free sandbags. 

The County of San Diego Department of Public Works is again offering free sand and bags to people in our unincorporated areas to help protect homes, neighborhoods and streets from flooding and erosion problems.

Just bring a shovel to the fire stations listed below and you’ll be good to go.

Current forecasts are predicting rain could fall through mid-week. Even though we’ve had some unusual rain storms this summer, the region has still been suffering through record levels of drought this year. Because of that, rains could trigger erosion and even debris flow, especially in areas that aren’t covered by lawns, trees, shrubs and plants.

In addition, forecasts are projecting a possible strong El Niño season this winter. County Office of Emergency Services and Department of Public Works officials are encouraging residents to look around their properties to see if they are in a flood-prone area, near hillsides with little or dead vegetation that could erode, and to look for ways to keep soil in place, especially on slopes. People can use mulch, terrace their slopes and plant a variety of groundcovers and shrubs to prevent erosion.

Water runoff, mud and debris swept downstream by rains can damage homes, clog storm drains and culverts and flood roadways. People can find more information, including about erosion control, on the County’s ReadySanDiego website and on the Office of Emergency Services’ Flooding Preparedness Facts and Resources Web page.

Visit the County’s El Niño page for a current list of sandbag locations.

County public works officials said several areas in the county are prone to roadway flooding. The three most frequent are the dips at Quarry Road, Sandia Creek in the North County, and Country Club Drive in Harmony Grove. Gates at the Quarry Road dip drop down automatically when activated by sensors in the stream. Public Works crews will post road closures at Country Club, Sandia Creek and any other areas where unsafe driving conditions exist. You can monitor the status of the dips by webcam and plan your trip accordingly. 

For more information, check the Department of Public Works’ Storm and Road Events update Web page, and this video: High-Tech Weather Center Keeps Watch for Flooding.

(Editor’s Note: This article previously contained a list of sandbag locations. Because the list has since been expanded and may continue to be revised, you’re asked to visit the County’s El Nino page for updated sandbag locations.)   


Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact