Potential Flooding

Fresno, California Whenever storms threaten, Fresno city crews get to work at filling these sandbags to help protect homes.

But it may be more seemingly everyday protections that are the most valuable.

The first line of defense against flooding is sweeping across the streets of Fresno. City maintenance crews are clearing leaves and debris from gutters, clearing the way for rain water to flow out of street drains. But street sweepers are just a small part of a big flood prevention machine that went into high gear when the storms became inevitable.

Brian Russell: "When we get a major storm, we shut down all other operations and concentrate specifically on the flooding issues."

Crews are also making sure flood pumps are operational at underpasses like this one on Van Ness.

Without the pumps, the underpass could easily end up underwater, like this one did in October. Street maintenance crews say the flooding a little more than two months ago actually helped them prepare for this storm, identifying problem spots and clearing out some debris.

Brian Russell: "A lot of the problems we have, we didn't know they were there unless somebody reported them."

The flood control district is focusing on retention ponds, lowering water levels to make sure the ponds can absorb at least three inches of rainfall.

The city is also scooping out sandbags as a last line of defense. The supply is limited and they can really only protect against street flooding, but having them around is a comforting feeling for many low lying residents, Who've seen their homes under water in the past.

Chris Boswell, Fresno resident: "When you get a lot of rain, it'll get some in there, so better to take 35-40 minutes now then mop it up afterwards."

The Fresno County Sheriff's Department is warning people planning a trip to the mountain areas to be prepared for the upcoming storm.

They have crews on standby prepared for any possible rescues in the mountain areas.

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