Late Thursday into Saturday, an atmospheric river will bring significant rainfall to Merced County and the neighboring foothills, resulting in the potential for flood events in the area.
Currently, forecasters are calling for up to three inches of rain in portions of Merced County and up to four inches of rain for portions of the foothills during this storm event. Additional runoff could occur as some of the lower elevation snowpack is washed away in the rain. Wind gusts could reach upwards of 40 mph Thursday night.
In response, the Merced County Emergency Operations Center began conducting advanced planning this week and will officially activate Thursday morning in an effort to mitigate potential flooding issues and prepare residents with resources.
The Merced County Office of Emergency Services is asking residents to register for Emergency Alerts. Residents are also asked to sign up for flood information by texting "MCFLOODS" to 888777.
Additional resources, such as sandbag locations, Merced County's flood hotline, and a flood safety checklist are included in the "additional resources" section of this news release.
Merced County's "Perimeter Platform" also remains available. At that site, starting tomorrow, users can view current road closures due to flooding, any shelter sites that have been established, as well as areas under evacuations warning/order.
Since the prior flooding events in January, the Merced County Department of Public Works has continued to fortify waterways in unincorporated areas that were problematic, including Miles Creek and Bear Creek. Under the local emergency proclamation, the County has also cleared out a significant amount of vegetation and overgrowth from our waterways. Weakened levees are always a concern during major storm events, and preparation will continue as we move through this storm system.
During major storm events, residents are asked to avoid unnecessary travel and be prepared for any potential evacuations. Being ready to put together a "go-bag" is one way to be prepared, and can include items such as wallets, purses, keys, cell phones, chargers, important documents, toiletries, medication, changes of clothes, etc.
When traveling, residents are asked to avoid flooded roads, remain clear of fast-moving creeks and rivers, and follow all emergency signage. When driving in the rain, always turn on your low-beam headlights.
Follow “Merced County” and the “Merced County Office of Emergency Services” on social media for future updates.