Merced County officials keeping close eye on water ways as most flow at capacity

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Just as Merced County crews work to prepare the region for the potential of widespread flooding and mitigate its impact, officials said there is no reason to panic. (KFSN)

Just as Merced County crews work to prepare the region for the potential of widespread flooding and mitigate its impact, officials said there is no reason to panic.

"Right now we got the National Guard just making sandbag fills in areas we think are going to be of concern. There's nothing catastrophic about what they're doing, the water is going to rise, it's going to rise slowly, you're going to see it, you're going to get your feet wet but we can deal with it," said Vern Warnke, Merced County Sheriff.

During a board of supervisors meeting Tuesday local leaders heard from emergency personnel who monitor the region for storm damage. They said water releases look positive and are staying within their channels as expected.

"We're monitoring it as it comes through the region of Snelling, comes through Livingston, Stevenson, and ultimately into the bypass," said Jeremy Rahn, Cal Fire.

Officials are monitoring all waterways within Merced County as well as releases from Don Pedro Reservoir, because the Merced, Tuolumne, and San Joaquin rivers all converge near the northwestern edge of the county and have the potential to impact the Stevenson area.

"Here, the rivers that have filled the Tuolumne running full buckets and the Merced River has been running good-- but it has maintained so well and yeah we're getting close to the top of the dam but everything is working," said Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke.

In the event emergency rescue services are needed during a flood, Merced will be better prepared. Teams from Los Angeles and Ventura County spent Tuesday with Merced crews running through rescue drills along Bear Creek in Merced.

"What we learned today is different techniques. We have a way of doing it, LA had a way of doing it, Ventura had a way of utilizing their boat, and all three methods work. Being able to share our training's I think we've all gained something from each other," said Billy Alcorn, Merced Fire Deputy Chief.

The rescue teams from Southern California will remain the area just as residents brace for the next series of storms.

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