MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- With the season's first significant rain, preparations are well underway across Central California on Wednesday.
Many wanted to avoid taking any chances after the tremendous volume of rain we saw last winter.
"Right now, I'm just cleaning the gutters and getting my yard, so at least my grass can get rained," said Augustine Linan, Merced resident.
The flooding that impacted large parts of the North Valley is still fresh in people's memory.
"None of us expected that much rain, especially us. That's why I got flood insurance. I'm only a block and a half from Bear Creek, so you never know," added Linan.
"This winter season, we could get above average rainfall, so from the county perspective, we've been doing everything we can to make sure that we're prepared," said Mike North, Merced County Public Information Officer.
That includes clearing out storm drains and creeks and preparing sandbags.
Both Merced and Madera Counties are setting up public sandbag stations so people can protect their homes.
"We've been doing a lot of work with Planada. That's a very resilient community, a lot of great people there, and just like everywhere else across the country, we are doing everything we can to make sure they are prepared and that they are ready for another winter season," explained North.
Another vital preparation that Merced County officials have focused on is obtaining state permits to clear creeks.
It's a time-saving step that they learned last season.
"We did a lot of work under emergency orders last year to clear out those waterways, but now the state has been a little easier to work with in terms of getting those permits, so prospectively looking forward, we're optimistic we'll be better," said North.
Officials tell us that creek levels are looking good right now, but the rain is just starting.
A friendly reminder: not all sandbag locations provide all materials, so double-check online before heading out.