Latest storm hits the South Valley, creating hazardous roads

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A powerful storm left behind a muddy mess.

From Kingsburg to Tulare, heavy rains not only overwhelmed roads. It also flooded dispatch centers with emergency calls.

"You get a wind associated with the rain and it causes the power poles and the trees to just weaken and fall out of the ground," said Capt. Joe Rosa with Tulare County Fire.

In Tulare County, first responders haven't had a chance to take a break.

Near Woodlake, a downed tree shut down a road.

On Road 40, a fallen branch took out power to about 60 customers.

In Tulare, firefighters waited for utility crews to fix yet another downed power pole.

"While we have fire stations strategically located in the county, they don't. They are all coming out of one place so sometimes it takes a little longer," Rosa said.

Because the ground is so saturated from previous storms and the hillsides so unstable from burn scars. Tulare County Fire once again called in extra personnel.

Even though there are swift water rescue crews and strike teams on standby, firefighters say you need to be aware of your surroundings.

"Don't drive through puddles, don't drive through water that's rushing through a bridge. Three inches of water can actually move a full-sized vehicle," Rosa said.

The South Valley received the heaviest band of rain Tuesday.

In the span of two hours, Tulare County firefighters had to clear more than 20 fallen trees and other hazards.
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