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County making sandbags ready for storm protection

By: Staff Report
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Placer County is making sand and sandbags available to residents in unincorporated areas as part of its preparations for a series of storms scheduled to last through the weekend. 

“Several county departments have been busy all week preparing for the storms, and will have crews working throughout the weekend to assist the public,” said County Executive Officer David Boesch. “Several preventative steps taken by departments over the last few months and years also will play important roles in helping protect residents and their property during this week’s storms.”

He noted that the Placer County Flood Control and Water Conservation District recently completed its annual effort to remove debris and other obstructions from local creeks that are prone to flooding. Over the past several years, the Placer County Public Works Department has made tree and vegetation maintenance a priority, so fewer trees fall in roadways and across power and telephone lines during storms. 

The National Weather Service expects heavy precipitation with prolonged high rainfall rates to begin today and continue through the weekend. It has issued a flood watch that is scheduled to remain in effect from this afternoon through Sunday afternoon. A flood watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts.

The heaviest precipitation is expected north of Placer County over eastern Butte and western Plumas counties and in the mountains north of Redding.

“In Placer County, we anticipate rainfall accumulations that will be significant,” Placer County Assistant Director of Emergency Services Rui Cunha explained. “Localized flooding is likely, including ponding on roadways, minor flooding in low-lying areas, clogged drains and backyard flooding. At this point we do not anticipate major flooding, but the potential is there for streams to overflow their banks.”

To help prepare for heavy rain, Public Works crews have been busy all week continuing to clean out drain inlets and culverts by hand or with street sweepers. During the storms, crews will patrol roadways to clear blockages as they arise whenever possible.

Public Works also has workers and equipment ready to respond in the mountains in case snow levels are lower than predicted.

The Facility Services Department has been hard at work making sure county buildings and parks are ready for wet, windy weather. The Building Maintenance Division has been focused on clearing gutters and drain spouts and taking other steps to protect county buildings and the Parks and Grounds Division has been cleaning out drains as part of its efforts to avoid localized flooding at county parks.

Several county departments are monitoring storm data closely, and will have crews on stand-up, ready to help if needed. That is the case at the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center, which has adequate staffing scheduled to handle projected call volumes, but also is prepared to call in additional staff if necessary.

The Placer County Office of Emergency Services is monitoring information from utilities, Public Works, the Flood Control District and other agencies and is prepared to help coordinate responses if major flooding occurs. The Flood Control District provides regular stream-flow data updates.

As part of their annual preparations for the winter storm season, district officials updated their Flood Response Handbook and distributed it Monday and attended a recent California Department of Water Resource’s pre-season flood coordination meeting for local and state flood officials.

Placer County will provide storm information, key telephone numbers, sand and sandbag locations, and other storm-related information through a link on its home page at www.placer.ca.gov.