Merced Prepares For the Storms

January 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Mounds of sand resembling large ant piles were set up in several spots across Merced Thursday afternoon, ready for residents to dig in.The Central Fire Station here on 16th street in Merced will be handing out these empty sand bags 24-7 so residents can fill them up at any of the ten sand piles that have been set up around the city. Officials say this is just one of the many steps they've taken to prepare for the storms.

City crews hit the streets to clear leaves and debris from storm drains.

"We've done about 15 today."

Public Works Director John Raggio says the cold snap that hit the area recently actually helped prepare Merced for the impending storms.

"We've been picking leaves up here for several weeks now, and fortunately with the cold weather we've had, the leaves have dropped off so we were able to pick them up."

Raggio says officials have also checked emergency generators and reviewed the storm emergency plan to prevent the flooding the city has seen during previous rainstorms.

"We have maps that we use to show where water valve, storm drain gate valves are located that prevent water from backing up into the city in case the water gets too high, so as I say, we're pretty well prepared."

And Merced County is also ready to respond if the weather takes a toll on infrastructure in the area.

Mark Hendrickson: "Our public works crews are preparing from a staffing standpoint to deal with issues like signal lights that may become broken or roads that may become damaged."

The City Public Works Department has also contacted vendors who provide sand and other storm-related supplies and put them on standby in case there's a need for reinforcements as the rain makes its way through this area.


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