Clean up begins in Planada after evacuation order downgraded

Thursday, January 12, 2023
Clean up begins in Planada after evacuation order downgraded
The sun was shining in Planada again Thursday after widespread flooding forced the entire town to evacuate.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The sun was shining in Planada again Thursday after widespread flooding forced the entire town to evacuate.

A break in a series of recent storms meant the clean up work around town can begin.

All across town, people were cleaning up the destruction inside their homes and on their properties.

Doris Quesada says a powerful water current during this week's storm busted open her apartment door.

She returned to find three feet of water inside, leaving almost everything damaged.

The fence around this man's home was completely swept away.

RELATED: Evacuation order downgraded for Planada, residents able to return home

After evacuating earlier this week, Maria Villa Gomez returned to find the front of her home in disarray.

Her son and daughter also live in houses on this street that were inundated with water. Maria is emotional at the thought of having to evacuate her home again this weekend.

She doesn't have insurance but says things can be replaced. Her family's safety matters most.

"A lot of them are renters in this community. They are farm workers and currently, with all this rain, they haven't worked in a while."

County Supervisor Rodrigo Espinosa says levies are being repaired as fast as possible. They hope to minimize damage when it rains again this weekend.

"So, what we have is a canal that broke just east of town on Childs and that way with so much water that rained so much at one time. It just, I think, overflowed everything," said Merced County Supervisor Rodrigo Espinosa.

Trash bins outside the Planada Community Center quickly filled up with debris and the water-damaged belongings people returned to: mattresses, furniture, children's toys.

The Merced County Sheriff's Office says more than 100 vehicles were ruined in Planada.

On Thursday, many of them were towed away.

This truck had to be abandoned when the driver was rescued from flood water earlier this week.

While the power is back, water is still not safe to drink.

The owner and workers at Mercado Latino worked through the night to clean up the store in hopes of reopening one of the community's only markets by Friday.

Better luck for those across town in newer neighborhoods.

Jobanny DeLeon was relieved to return this morning and find his home in good condition. Like many on his street, he will leave sandbags in place through this weekend's storm.

"We are still ready to leave whenever we need to but you know hopefully it doesn't get as bad as it did," said DeLeon.