Residents in parts of California have been told to prepare for an imminent evacuation as a powerful storm threatens to cause flooding across many parts of the State.
As the first outer rain bands from a Pacific storm touched Northern California on Sunday, residents in the Central Valley were told to be prepared to leave their homes amid fears that severe flooding could hit the State on Monday and Tuesday as the severity of the storm is expected to worsen.
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On Sunday, the weather service issued a flood warning in urban areas and along small streams through Thursday for the counties that make up the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys, as well as for most of the counties that sit along the Valley’s rim.
“We may see flooding in locations which haven’t been impacted in many years,” the alert reads.
In other words, those living anywhere near a river, a slough, a levee, a creek or a canal need to be ready to flee floodwaters at a moment’s notice.
Case in point: Maxwell, a rice-farming town of 1,100 people an hour north of Sacramento. It flooded early Saturday as storm runoff overwhelmed a creek, filling a neighborhood and small business district with more than a foot of water.
Bingaman said the same scenario in Maxwell could happen in just about any low-lying area.
“We have been hit hard with storm after storm after storm since early January, so our soils are very saturated and it’s getting to the point where there’s no place for the water to go,” she said.
In Maxwell, the water was receding Sunday morning and only one person was still at a Red Cross shelter in nearby Williams, said Jim Saso, assistant sheriff at the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office. But with the next storm approaching, he urged residents to be ready to get out again.
“If they were affected (by the floodwaters) before, they’ll probably be affected again,” Saso said.
In Maxwell on Sunday, residents hurriedly stacked sandbags made from rice sacks around their houses as they prepared for that eventuality.
“It’s going to be worse than the last one,” said Richard Airozo, 77.