County leaders are encouraging people to sign up for the emergency alert system so they can stay up to date throughout the storms.
MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A year after devastating floods hit Merced County, people are still rebuilding as they prepare for more storms.
"It helps you understand that recovery from disasters is not just a three-month process," said Merced resident Judy MacLaren. "Recovery from natural disasters, be it fire, flood, it's going to be a multi-year process."
Judy McLaren's home was flooded by Bear Creek last January. She said 2/3 of her home is still under construction. She's taking extra precautions this year, like checking the Bear Creek Flood Map and repositioning sandbags she kept from last year. She even took into consideration how they rebuilt.
"When we redid some of the construction, we set it up so that it would be easy. If it did, in fact, flood, then we could get back on our feet much faster, having been through it once before," said MacLaren. "We put tiles in on the floors so they could be easily cleaned up and recovery can go faster."
County leaders say they learned a lot after last year's floods. Bear Creek and Miles Creek have been identified as areas of concern where they're taking extra steps to reduce flood risks.
"That includes putting sandbags up on the levees, putting plastic down in those canals, so it's not washing out the banks, clearing out the channels of vegetation and debris to make sure water is moving as it should," said Mike North, Merced County spokesperson. "We're going to keep up those efforts moving forward."
County spokesperson Mike North said drains are being cleared and detention basins checked, but if people see any problem areas that haven't been addressed, they should report them to the county.
The Sheriff's Department and Office of Emergency Services are ready to respond in case of emergency, including deploying rescue teams and operating evacuation centers, but they're urging people to prepare in advance and heed warnings from the county.
"My personnel is on standby, we are trained, I've got a dive rescue team, and I've got a lot of resources, but please don't make me put them to work," said Sheriff Vern Warnke, Merced County.
As the county takes preventative measures and works on outreach, they have a phrase they want you to keep in mind.
"Don't be worried, don't be scared, be prepared," said Warnke.
"Don't be scared, but be prepared," said North.
County leaders are encouraging people to sign up for the county emergency alert system so they can stay up to date throughout the storms.