SAN MATEO, Calif. - Decisions, like local state of emergencies or local weather warnings, sometimes come from data gathered by U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunters, and as they fly above the storms, people in the Bay Area are preparing.
At the Bayside Building Materials shop in San Mateo, part of the Ace Hardware network, owners say customers are buying the usual.
"Anything from raincoats, boots, we have the sand," said Giulio Sbregia, the store's owner.
He keeps the sandbags packed in the maintenance yard out back. His employees say people in the county seemed to be more prepared this year compared to last year.
"Last year when it started flooding, I saw a lot of panic," said Felipe Porras, who works in the maintenance yard.
"A lot of people rushing to get sandbags, but this year it seemed like everyone was already prepared or already had sandbags from last year. It wasn't that bad."
To help prepare for this next round, Hurricane Hunters are flying above the atmospheric rivers before the storms make landfall.
"Primarily, the focus of these flights is to gather data, so it can be relayed back and integrated into the forecast models in real-time," said Lt. Col. Mark Withee, who serves as a navigator.
"It can give the public the most informed decision and policymakers the most data they need to make decisions on what's coming onto shore."
The Hurricane Hunters fly hundreds of miles off the coast for up to 12 hours.
Meteorologists expect the first round of heavy rain to impact the Bay Area Sunday morning, bringing in heavy snow for the mountains.