Merced County preparing for more rain weeks after flooding devastation

Alyssa Flores Image
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Planada preparing for more rain weeks after flooding devestation
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Planada preparing for more rain weeks after flooding devestation

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- An approaching severe storm is already raising strong concerns in North Valley communities swamped weeks ago by floodwaters.

"Nobody is ready. The water is going to come and it's going to flood everything. I think, I don't know," said Raul Manzo, a resident of Planada.

In January, the farmworker town of Planada spent days underwater after a series of atmospheric rivers.

The recovery there is far from over. Debris still sits on the curbs of people's homes as they try to repair the severe water damage.

"A lot of people are fixing their houses. Now, when this water comes again, we are going to go through the same thing," Manzo explained.

A FEMA trailer continues to service residents out of the community center.

Manzo is still going through the process to secure funds from FEMA after storm water wrecked part of his home.

"My garage and well my foundation and my house. I wasn't as bad as other people," he said.

At a sandbagging location on the edge of town, two men looked up at the snow packed mountains while loading sand in their truck to protect their home from potential high-water this weekend.

They say they prayed for rain in the Valley, but not this much.

Merced County officials say problem areas along waterways have been addressed since the storms almost two months ago.

That includes weak spots that gave out along Miles Creek near Planada.

"Fortifying our waterways, making sure we have sandbags available, clearing storm drains int he unincorporated areas," said Mike North with Merced County.

For years, waterways couldn't be cleared because of a slow permit process through the state's fish and wildlife agency.

But thanks to an emergency order after January's storms, county officials were given permission to clear brush, trees and debris out of Bear Creek in McSwain.

"This is kind of unprecedented in terms of the amount of rain we are getting. The amount of snowpack we have up in the hills," North said.

Officials say now is the time to register for the county's emergency alert system.

Notifications are sent out specific to dangerous weather impacting your area.

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