Merced residents evacuate from storms again months after devastating flooding

Kate Nemarich Image
Friday, March 10, 2023
Merced residents evacuate from storms again months after devastating flooding
Two months to the day after storms damaged homes in a mobile home park in Merced County, residents were told they need to leave once again.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two months to the day after storms damaged homes in the Riviera Holiday Mobile Estates, management once again told residents they need to leave their homes on Thursday.

Another round of storms could damage the homes before people have even had the chance to repair them.

A truck made its way through the Riviera Holiday Mobile Estates announcing the community's mandatory evacuation order to residents.

That order takes effect at 10 a.m. Friday, but management said many of the more than 450 residents are already gone.

Some residents packed up and left when initial notices were sent out Tuesday.

They are till reeling from the damage left by January storms.

"There were those that stayed behind that had to be rescued by emergency water vehicles and they are not hesitating this time to see the destruction personally," said Judy Price, Manager of Riviera Holiday Mobile Estates. "Having to repair homes. Leave."

RELATED: Atmospheric River: How to prepare for expected storm to hit Central California

Some of the homes that were damaged have not yet been repaired according to property management. People around the county have held off on rebuilding concerned they would get started only to be set back once again.

"I've been saying for the last several months, let's wait until the next round goes through because I suspected there'd be more flooding," said Judy Maclaren, resident.

A major concern is Bear Creek's banks weakened by recent floods. Concrete barriers and sandbags were laid down on Thursday to help reduce overflow.

"The creek right now is about 8, 9 feet. When we wake up in the morning it's probably going to be about 17," said Merced Mayor Matthew Serratto. "Projected to get to about 23 by late afternoon or early evening tomorrow."

23 feet is considered flood stage. Even with the measures being taken, Serratto is encouraging people in evacuation areas to seek out a safer location now, not later.

"Last time we had a number of late-night swift water rescues," said Serratto. "Our fire departments acquired four Jon boats to assist in rescues so we're at even better capacity to rescue people."

For anyone staying put, they're encouraged to have a go bag ready with necessities. For those living in Merced County and needing to evacuate, there are two shelters open. The Merced County Fairgrounds and the Atwater Community Center.

For news updates, follow Kate Nemarich on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.