Preparations for relief efforts underway with Atmospheric River headed to Central California

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was a busy Monday for Caltrans crews as they drove up and down Highway 168 clearing snow from the road.

A weather system already brought several inches to a foot of snow in Shaver Lake, but that's only the beginning of what promises to be a very wet and snowy week.

RELATED: An Atmospheric River is headed to Central California. Here's what to expect

Red Cross officials are now preparing for the looming storm.

"We know a disaster can happen at a moment's notice, so we have put our Red Cross volunteers on standby," said Nicole Maul.

Nicole Maul with the Red Cross recommends people put together an emergency kit with essential items such as water and a flashlight.

CHP officers are also asking those traveling on Highway 168 to take precautions. At the moment, drivers must have their chains on to get up the mountain.

"You just want to make sure that one you use your low beams, two, use your windshield wipers and three, just slow down as much as possible," said CHP Officer Anthony Daulton

Brent Pius, a mountain resident and owner of Pius Construction, said there's another hazard just beyond the top of the four-lane.

Should someone lose control of their vehicle on the three-mile stretch leading to Shaver Lake, they could go over the edge.

There is no guard rail or trees to stop a moving car.

"Now if a car spins out and goes off the road it is going to go down a cliff in some areas, a steep embankment in most of the areas," said Pius. "It will probably go down several hundred feet and then hit a tree."

Before there used to be a barrier of trees, but they were torched by the Creek Fire and had to be removed.

The inferno also destroyed hundreds of homes, leaving behind toxic debris, which Pius said is very concerning with rain and snow in the forecast.

RELATED: Resources throughout Central California with winter storms expected

"Where the debris is still left, they are going to start washing down into the watershed," he said.

County officials say they're also concerned the upcoming snow and rain could result in flooding, mudslides and rockslides in areas impacted by the Creek Fire.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.