Merced County placing sandbags, taking extra measures as storms approach

As two storm systems make their way to Central California, officials say crews are prepared and on standby for the inevitable.

Nico Payne Image
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Merced County placing sandbags, taking extra measures as storms approach
From levee repairs to sandbag stations, officials in Merced County say they are ready for the steady rain that's coming.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- From levee repairs to sandbag stations, officials in Merced County say they are ready for the steady rain that's coming.

It's the calm before the storm, but preparations have been underway for weeks.

"We've been focused on Miles Creek and Bear Creek. Those are areas that have had prior storm damage," said Mike North with Merced County.

Thousands of sandbags have been placed on levees, with crews taking extra measures to prep areas that were sensitive to last year's rain.

"Putting plastic actually in those canals to make sure we can keep water moving out of our area where it needs to go," explained North.

Fire officials compare this season to last January when they had to declare a federal emergency for Merced County.

"That was on the tail end of a string of atmospheric rivers coming through, so capacity upstream was limited at best," said Merced Fire Chief Derek Parker.

As two storm systems make their way to Central California, officials say crews are prepared and on standby for the inevitable.

"If it is needed where we need to go on a non-traditional fire role, in an all-risk role, we can go do that," said Parker.

"We were prepared last year as well, but the amount of rainfall that we received, it's just too much for some of these waterways to handle, so we learned a lot from last year, even more prepared this year," added North.

Action News was told starting Wednesday morning, crews will be bringing a large excavator to clear brush to further help with water flow.

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