The strongest rainstorm of the year is coming. Here's how SLO County residents can prepare

What experts predict could be the heaviest storm of the season is heading toward California's Central Coast, and many residents may be wondering how they can prepare their homes and families for a potentially damaging storm.

The storm, which could drop as much as 6 inches of rain on San Luis Obispo County by Thursday, is expected to arrive Tuesday, with rainfall rates ranging between 0.50 and 0.75 inch per hour in the hardest hit areas.

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Here are some tips from PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey and the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services on how to prepare.

Have battery-operated flashlights and radios ready, along with fresh batteries.

Keep your cellphone charged and have a portable charger handy.

If you have a cordless phone or answering machine that uses electricity, have a standard telephone or cellphone handy as backup.

Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make ice blocks that can be put in the freezer or refrigerator during an outage.

Downed power lines should be considered active. Stay away from them and call 911 to report their location.

If you have a generator, make sure it's installed safely.

If you live in a flood prone area, pickup and install sandbags ahead of time.

Check roof drains to make sure they are clear.

Consider buying a weather alert radio to receive urgent weather messages.

Sandbags can help to prevent flooding in your home. Here are some of the locations in San Luis Obispo County where you can pick up sand (bags can be bought at your local hardware store). Most locations do not provide shovels, so you'll need to bring your own.

City Corp Yard, 25 Prado Road, San Luis Obispo.

Laguna Lake Golf Course, 11175 Los Osos Valley Road, San Luis Obispo.

Sinsheimer Park parking lot, San Luis Obispo.

Santa Rosa Park, San Luis Obispo.

Atascadero Fire Station 1, 6005 Lewis Ave.

Heritage Ranch, CSD Maintenance Yard at 4870 Heritage Road, Paso Robles.

Behind Nipomo Community Service office on West Dana Street.

Old County Road and Florence Street in Templeton.

Oceano Community Service District office on Front Street, 22nd Street and Highway 1.

CA-58 near Wilhelmina Avenue in Santa Margarita.

City of Arroyo Grande Corporation Yard, 1375 Ash St.

City of Grover Beach Corporation Yard, 1150 Farroll Ave.

13th and Warner streets, and 22nd Street at the Arroyo Grande Creek Bridge in Oceano.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie