Merced County readies for heavy storms

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Ten years ago, Merced County made national news after months of rain and a broken levee sent floodwaters rushing across streets and into hundreds of homes. (KFSN)

Several sand piles were set up Monday across the city and Merced County so residents can fill up their own bags for protection, but crews have also been removing a lot of leaves from the streets -- and clearing debris out of local waterways.

Ten years ago, Merced County made national news after months of rain and a broken levee sent floodwaters rushing across streets and into hundreds of homes.

Now with the possibility of a very wet winter, crews are taking several steps to prevent another disaster. "We always prepare, getting the leaves picked up out of the roads making sure all storm drains are clear," Michael Miller with Merced Public Works said.

City trucks swept up more than 1,800 tons of leaves last month alone, and they're not done yet. The public works department is also prepared for other problems that could come with this series of storms. "There is one issue that I did look at I see we're going to get some 30 mile per hour winds," Miller said. "So, we might think about putting a tree crew on call so we can respond after hours."

Workers have also removed sand bars and cleaned debris from several local creeks. And the county received a $90,000 state grant to update its flood plan. Some of that money went toward training employees on how to repair levees and properly prepare sand bags.

"We did have that training in the Los Banos area and Merced area," Merced County spokesman Mike North said. "And it was mostly to have that knowledge out there to prepare folks so they know how to use them and we're prepared for what might come."

At this point, local officials say they're not anticipating any major problems this week. But if you're interested in filling up some sand bags, you can find more information on the city and county websites.
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