CalTrans, CalFire, other agencies prepare for storm approaching Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As a series of storms approaches the San Joaquin Valley, agencies are bracing for heavy rainfall.

"As we move through the week, especially Wednesday and Thursday will be the real significant precipitation periods," said meteorologist Dan Harty.

While the biggest impacts will be in the Kern county area, significant showers in Fresno County and snowfall potentially as low as 5,000-feet mean CalTrans crews have activated storm protocol.

"We start clearing out culverts cleaning drainage ditches," said Elizabeth Yelton.

Though its been a few years since the Railroad fire, the burn scar areas remain a concern.

"There could be debris and mud flow there could be things coming down that our crews will have to clear off the roadways," Yelton said.

But this area isn't expected to be as active as the Ferguson fire burn scars in Mariposa County.

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Shifts will be staggered so that someone is on call 24 hours in case anything happens. Crews have already strategically placed equipment in higher elevations they believe will be problematic.

"We have our bulldozers scrapers anything that would be of use to us. in general its larger debris that comes down," said Yelton.

As these types of weather patterns move in it's not just burn scar areas CalFire crews are concerned about.

"More vehicle accidents, power lines down, trees coming down, impacting structures, but we also respond to a lot of water rescue events," said Ryan Michaels.

Some areas haven't experienced this type of rainfall in years.

"There's a potential for debris that historically just been up against river banks would then be shoving itself down into a creek bed," said Michaels.

As for California's mutual aid system, as many as 29 members of the regional task force -- five of which are comprised of several Valley agencies -- could be heading to Paradise or Malibu this week.

Because of the hazardous travel conditions throughout the week experts are saying you should seriously reconsider any travel up into the mountains -- even for experienced drivers.

The National Weather Service is likely to issue Winter Storm Warnings as we move through the week.

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