Larry Chavez, a resident of west Morgan Hill, loads up sandbags outside the fire station on Old Monterey Road in between showers Dec. 27. Valley Water and the City of Morgan Hill supply sandbag stations during wet weather at the Old Monterey Road location, as well as at the city’s corporation yard on Edes Court. File photo.

Santa Clara County residents can get free filled sandbags from sandbag sites operated by the Santa Clara Valley Water District ahead of more heavy rainfall expected this week.

Heavy winter rainfall can cause flooding in minutes but homeowners can use sandbags to prevent or reduce damage from floodwater or debris. The sandbags are available from November through April at five Valley Water sites.

Valley Water sandbag guidelines say it’s most effective to put a tarp between a structure and sandbags to keep floodwater from seeping between the housing siding and foundation sills.

Baffle boards should be used to seal foundation vents, windows, doorways and garage doorways. Baffle boards should overlap the window, door or vent they are covering by a few inches.

At the five Valley Water sandbag sites scattered throughout the county, residents can pick up free filled sandbags or fill their own with bags and sand the district has provided.

There are also 20 city and county public works yards with bags and sand that residents can fill themselves. A shovel and someone to help lift the sandbags is recommended since they are heavy.

In Morgan Hill, Valley Water has a sandbag site at the El Toro Fire Station, 18300 Old Monterey Road. The city has an additional sandbag station at its Corporation Yard, at 100 Edes Court. 

Some sites may require proof of residency. More information and site locations can be found at

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