Surging Bear Creek causing flood concerns in Merced neighborhoods

Saturday, March 11, 2023
Surging Bear Creek causing flood concerns in Merced neighborhoods
Merced County crews worked to protect the community as heavy rainfall caused Bear Creek to swell on Friday.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced County crews worked to protect the community as heavy rainfall caused Bear Creek to swell on Friday.

The creek breached during the last round of storms, leading to devastating flooding in nearby neighborhoods.

Marcia Jones lives along Bear Creek near Creekside Drive in Merced.

"We've live on this creek for 46 years and we haven't had anything like this happen very much. We are just trusting God to take care of us," Jones said.

Judy Maclaren and her husband have also lived in the same area for 2 and a half years.

The night of the flood in January, their house was surrounded by 3 to 4 feet of water and up to 18 inches filled the inside of their home.

They're still dealing with renovations after the damage that disaster caused, but now they've decided to pack up and evacuate - just hopefully not for good.

"I said to him if it floods a second time, I'm done, I'm out of here...my husbands like - -I like this house I really like this house - when we bought it we were in the middle of a drought so," said Maclaren.

She was thankful for the crews out working in front of her home --filling sandbags and trying to keep the creek within its banks by creating this flood wall.

Fire Chief Derek Parker shared his plan heading into the weekend.

He said Bear Creek could reach record flood levels so he and his crews are doing everything they can to prevent the worst-case scenario.

"Bear Creek was at 6 feet and now it's at 11 feet and that's in one day and it's going to come up significantly more," Parker said.

As the water rises in the city and rural areas, those who need a place to go can head to emergency shelters at the Atwater Community Center or Merced County Fairgrounds.

John Ceccoli, with Merced County Human Service Agency, was at the fairgrounds on Friday. He said, "Responding to my community in a meaningful way with people's safety at risk, nothing makes me prouder of being a county employee than this service here that we are providing today."

You can monitors evacuation shelters here.

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