Roads flooded, trees knocked down as powerful storm hits Merced County

Alyssa Flores Image
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Roads flooded, trees knocked down as powerful storm hits Merced County
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City crews spent the day responding to flooding and downed trees across Merced.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A powerful storm hit Merced County on Monday, causing flooded streets, several car crashes and spinouts, and a lot of downed trees.

City crews spent the day responding to flooding and downed trees across Merced.

The Soriano family was woken up around 5 am Monday by the sound of cracking, followed by a loud bang.

"I jumped out of bed when I heard the cracking."

The family came outside and found a massive tree had fallen onto their home, directly over one of the bedrooms.

They're both grateful and shocked that the tree didn't crash through the roof.

"It was a really big surprise that the whole thing was leaning on the house, that our house is strong enough to hold this huge tree. It's pretty incredible that nothing else happened."

A private tree service got right to work on removal.

In north Merced, the Sullivans, who had spent the weekend away checking for damage to a family beach house, came home to find a mess left behind by the storm.

Part of their fence was brought down by fallen branches and an entire tree that came crashing down in their backyard.

Merced city crews have been strategically placing sandbags in areas prone to flooding.

City manager Stephanie Dietz says workers have spent the past 72 hours preparing for the storm. They have now stopped non-essential maintenance to focus on calls that could compromise public safety.

"The flooding is one thing but the ground is saturated, the trees are receiving gusts of wind of up to 50 miles per hour and we are seeing a lot of downed trees power lines and so those are the mediations that we are working to clear," said Dietz.

Monday morning, the water level at Bear Creek continued to rise.

The National Weather Service forecasts it will exceed flood stage by evening.

Flooding led to the closure of Childs Avenue between G Street and Highway 59.

The California Highway Patrol shared a picture of a messy spinout near Livingston, warning people to avoid driving through current weather conditions unless you absolutely must.

Free sandbags can be picked up in Merced at the fire station at Highway 99 and 16th, along with a few other locations.

You can find a full list of sandbag locations in the Valley by clicking here.as