MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Madera County Sheriff's Office has issued an evacuation warning for various mountain communities due to potential flooding.
More than 200 people are under an evacuation warning, including part of the Cascadel Woods subdivision and the Bass Lake mobile home park.
Areas included in evacuation warning:
Stay or go, Sheriff Tyson Pogue says people need to prepare ahead of this weekend's storms.
Preparations have been underway throughout the day to prevent as much flooding and damage as possible.
In Cascadel Woods, Wednesday was a day of building support, stabilizing the bridge that connects the east side of the subdivision. The concern is the bridge could be washed out.
"It would cut off about 60 residents. The other access road isn't accessible right now especially with the storm because it's a low water crossing," said Stan Eggnik, Cascadel Mutual Water Company President.
Part of the Cascadel Mutual Water Company utilities is also on that side of the bridge. Company president Stan Eggink says it's critical for fire response in the area. Especially concerning for a neighborhood that just last week saw a home burn down.
"CalFire depends on us very seriously with the amount of water they use from us and if we don't have it, they can't use it," said Eggnik.
Other communities, like the Bass Lake Mobile Home Park, sit dark as they've been fully evacuated.
Those already evacuated are an example of how seriously Sheriff Tyson Pogue said his team and the community are taking the warnings, but he wants to make sure the message is received.
"I'm fairly confident that they're taking it seriously," said Pogue. "That's why we're taking that extra step of going door to door making contact and doing as much outreach work as we can to make sure that they understand the potential impacts."
Pogue said they've issued the warning now to give people time to either get out or get the supplies they need to hunker down at home throughout the storms.
If any of the nearly 230 people under the warning do choose to stay, Sheriff Pogue cautioned they could risk being stranded for days.
Areas under construction like Road 200 that people use to leave town are on his radar.
"That area saw some major flooding, some major waters just recently and it did hold up through that flood system, but it is one of the areas we're keeping an eye on so luckily for that area," said Pogue. "There are a couple of other ways out of North Fork so it's unlikely that we'll be completely cut off."
As the storms inch closer, the sheriff said they are monitoring water levels and addressing areas of concern.
"We're starting to pre-positioned equipment and supplies we've really established and expanded our sandbag locations and stations, deputies, first responders in search and rescue on standby for checking culverts, bridges, or obstructions and then working to remove those obstructions," said Pogue.
According to a Red Cross spokesperson, the shelter in Oakhurst is closed, but it is likely it will be reopened for the weekend.
In preparation, volunteers are cleaning, restocking, and coordinating with emergency officials ahead of the incoming storm.
Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock are advised to leave now.
The sheriff's office warns that rescue or lifesaving assistance might be impossible if you stay on your property in these areas.
If you're in need of evacuation assistance, call (559) 675-7770. If it is an emergency, call 911.
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