Severe flooding in Merced County leaves some communities underwater

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Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Severe flooding in Merced County leaves some communities underwater
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Across Merced County, many evacuation orders remain in place as the high water is just too dangerous to navigate.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Severe flooding across the North Valley left some communities underwater on Tuesday.

The entire town of Planada is under an evacuation order, where some homes and businesses are sitting in several feet of water.

Across Merced County, many evacuation orders remain in place as the high water is just too dangerous to navigate.

"Our primary focus right now is preserving public safety. Number two priority is protecting property," said Mike North, a spokesperson for Merced County.

Rescue teams spent the day on rafts reaching people who were stuck in cars and homes.

City, county, state and national authorities are pitching in to help.

"Me and my cousin just kept hearing people yelling for help, I was checking on the neighbors but I saw them doing SOS with their flashlight," said Shawna Bryner.

At the flooded section of Willowbrook and Highway 59, civilians dove in to help.

"After it got bad like this, the family in that black truck had a disabled person and my cousin and I helped move them into the transport truck," Bryner recalled.

The truck shuttled evacuees to the evacuation center at the Merced County Fairgrounds.

There, people are being provided a dry place to sleep, food and showers.

"Stay off the roads if you can. Don't travel unless you absolutely have to. You are going to encounter floodwaters you are going to encounter major potholes that could damage you car and we don't want to see anybody stranded out there," said North.

It could be another day or so before the water fully recedes from flooded areas.