Latest Headlines

East Bay mayor urges residents to stay home, offers help to transport homeless to shelter

With a powerful storm like the Bay Area has never seen before taking aim here and the potential for more flooding, downed trees and dangerous winds, Antioch city leaders have taken to social media to warn residents to stay inside and to offer help to the unsheltered.

In a press conference streamed on Facebook late Tuesday, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe warned of the Level 5 storm headed to the area, which he said would likely bring more landslides, fallen trees and heavy flooding along with torrential downpours anticipated later in the afternoon Wednesday.

“The level of storm that we are anticipating is at Level 5, which is historic,” he said. “Never in history…has a Level 5 storm hit the Bay Area.”

“So this is not the time for anybody in the community to be outside unnecessarily because of the dangerous conditions that exist,” he added. “So I’m asking the public to please stay home.”

Thorpe said conditions were ripe for more rock and mudslides and falling trees because the dirt was already wet from the previous rainstorm. He also asked that non-essential city employees work remotely.

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, with interim director of public works Scott Bunting to his left, speaks in a livestream Facebook press conference about the city’s preparations for the Level 5 storm anticipated to hit the Bay Area on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. 

Interim public works director Scott Bunting said his crews have been hard at work during the brief calm of the storm cleaning catch basins, channels and removing debris from the streets in anticipation of more rain.

“City crews will continue to monitor the storm making sure that streets are remaining safe,” he said. “Closures will most likely be in place as streets will likely flood due to the volume of rain that is expected.”

READ MORE:  Russian media: Detention of WNBA’s Griner extended to May possibly 19

In anticipation of the wild weather and potential power outages, the mayor said both the Antioch and Nick Rodriguez community centers and the library would be open for those wanting to stay out of the rain.

“We are monitoring the situation and if needed, we will extend the hours at our community centers to ensure that our unhoused population is out of the rain,” Thorpe said. “So, if we need to go into the midnight hours, then that’s what we do as a city to ensure that people are in safe conditions.”

Thorpe himself took to the streets with a small team on Wednesday morning to warn the homeless along A and 18th streets of the impending storm and let them know the community centers would be open. He also arranged with Tri Delta Transit to have free shuttles available to take the unhoused to the temporary shelters.

“What I’m most concerned about is people in areas by streams and creeks because when it starts pouring, they’re gonna quickly get flooded,” the mayor said. “You can already see the Delta (water level) is high. You can see these creeks and streams are already filled. And so the moment the next storm comes, it’s gonna get flooded.”

Thorpe added that some didn’t realize the significance of the storm and were reluctant to go to the temporary shelters, though he offered them bags to pack up their belongings to take with them.

“It’s not a matter of losing your stuff, it’s a matter of losing your life because this is gonna get flooded,” he said. “They may not realize it, because you could be sleeping and then this (torrential rain) starts to happen. And next thing you know, you’re under water.”

READ MORE:  Sharks fall apart early in third period in loss to Calgary Flames

Homeless advocate Nichole Gardner estimated about 300 people live unhoused in Antioch, many in several encampments, including one along the riverfront and near the Highway 4 bypass behind Slatten Ranch. She too was out on Wednesday morning warning those living in tents about the impending danger and need to seek shelter.

“It’s been cold and miserable, so I am just glad that we have a break in the weather right now,” she said.

Earlier, Gardner had ordered tarps and new tents, but those won’t be enough for the torrential rain that is expected.

“When it starts flooding and the ground is wet, it’s a struggle, everything is wet,” she said.

Gardner added that many community members have offered support, calling her and messaging her on her FacingHomelessinAntioch Facebook page.

“I’m excited that the community is coming together,” she said. “But, of course, it’s miserable. The goal is to get as many people off of the streets as possible and … to just let them know that there is somewhere warm where they can go get something to eat and just be out of the storm.”

Check back for updates.

Related Articles

Back to top button