Merced County braces for storm, Emergency Operations Center activated

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Thursday, January 5, 2023
Merced County braces for storm, Emergency Operations Center activated
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Wednesday morning's commute in the North Valley was met with slick roads.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced County has already seen road closures this week from flooding. Now, crews are working to prevent more problems.

Wednesday morning's commute in the North Valley was met with slick roads.

The wet roadways were only a preview of what is expected to come with the next big rain maker rolling into the area.

It was all hands on deck Wednesday afternoon as federal and state partners worked with Merced County to prepare for the storm.

Over the next 12 to 18 hours, winds will be one of the top concerns, with gusts reaching anywhere from 30 to 50 miles per hour.

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Flooding is also a serious concern with more rain coming on top of recent downpours.

Merced County has activated its emergency operations center to get ahead of this storm.

As many residents try to limit travel to avoid flooded roadways, some are living in the thick of it, already feeling the impacts and bracing for what's to come.

"It doesn't do it very often but when it does, this is what you got. Right here where it gets hit the most," said Robert Elias, a Le Grand resident.

Elias is gearing up for the possibility of evacuation orders.

Even though his home is raised three feet, flooding is still a concern.

"It's on stands, that's what I'm worried about. It may wash them out then it may come down," explained Elias.

The County of Merced activated its Emergency Operations Center, bringing federal and state agencies to help map flood prone areas and coordinate shelters and support.

"Things like the wind stream flows temperature the whole gamut of water weather and climate," said Jerald Meadows, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Hanford.

Meadows, who is in charge of this operation, is looking at existing waterways for hydrological impacts.

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"Some of the areas of concern, Merced River, Bear Creek. It's actually coming close to monitor stage today," said Meadows.

The coordinated effort is also adding and deploying road crews throughout the county to mitigate any hazards.

"We have public works crews pumping water where they need to clearing out storm drains," said Mike North, a spokesperson with Merced County.

As additional systems bring more rain, make sure you're prepared if there's flooding in your area.

In the event that flooding impacts travel, keep food, water, and blankets in your car.

Another tip is to prepare by having candles and flashlights ready for your home.

You can find a flood check list from Merced County by clicking here.