Foothill areas brace for flooding, chance of mudslides as storms hit Central California

Jessica Harrington Image
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Foothill areas brace for flooding, chance of mudslides as storms hit Central California
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A flood watch has been issued in Mariposa County through 7 pm Tuesday.

MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A flood watch has been issued in Mariposa County through 7 pm Tuesday.

Steady rainfall soaked Mariposa throughout the day.

Paul Peterson, who lives in the area, says it was a welcome sight.

"I think it's great, we need more." Peterson said.

But he wasn't waiting to make sure his home was protected.

He filled up his 10 free sand bags provided by Mariposa County.

"Got a lot of standing water around my house, I just want to put a barricade up there to keep it from coming in." Peterson said.

The county's Office of Emergency Services is keeping a close eye on the Oak Fire burn scar.

The blaze that broke out in July burned more than 19,000 acres.

Wes Smith, an Emergency Services Coordinator, says they're worried the rain will fall faster than the soil can absorb it.

That could trigger debris flows.

"So our main concern, the thing that worries us the most, is the ground saturation." Smith said.

These wattles are lining the roads to help keep them free from water and debris.

Heavy equipment is clearing falling rocks and more equipment is on standby, if necessary.

Officials say they're not underestimating the chances of flash floods, especially after a flash flood in 2018 wiped out Highway 132 and left two people dead in separate incidents.

"We're welcoming the water. We need the water, we're in drought. But we're also aware that we have mitigating circumstances that can cause a secondary disaster to the Oak Fire." Smith said.

The Health and Human Services team is preparing to check on people who need in-home supportive services.

They'll be working over the weekend for those who may need extra support.

"We are checking in and making sure that anyone and everyone in the county is safe and cared for." Mariposa Public Information Officer Lizz Darcy said.

Mariposa County has made sand bags available for residents at the Old Mormon Bar Fire station across from the fairgrounds and at the Don Pedro Water Treatment facility.

You will need to bring a shovel, but the sand and 10 bags are free.

If emergency services needs to issue any warnings or evacuations they will do so on their social media pages and through the ever bridge alert system.

Residents can sign up for those alerts on the county's website or by clicking here.