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Batten down the hatches

Third storm expected to drench Valley

Batten down the hatches

With roads slick with rain, the California Highway Patrol was busy Friday with a number of weather-related crashes. A female driver who had just entered the lanes of northbound Highway 99 at Taylor...


POSTED November 30, 2012 9:12 p.m.

A strong Pacific frontal system pushed heavy rains and gusty winds into much of Northern California, prompting flood warnings and wind advisories for much of the area.

A reprieve from the wind and rain isn’t expected until Monday, with the third and potentially largest storm hitting tonight and continuing into Sunday.

The third storm is expected to drop 10 to 14 inches of rain in the north end of the state and one and a half to three inches in the San Joaquin Valley.

The series of storms has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning for urban basins and small streams for most of Northern California, including Stanislaus County.

Forecasters are predicting wind gusts in the Valley to reach upwards of 40 mph and the National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for the area. A wind advisory means people should take extra caution when driving, especially in small vehicles and be aware of possible downed tree branches.

In response to the storms, the California Emergency Management Agency has activated the State Operations Center and its Northern Region Emergency Operations Center at the agency's headquarters in Sacramento. 

According to weather experts, the storm system is likely to cause mud and debris flows in the recent burn areas of Butte, Plumas and Shasta Counties, local power outages due to fallen trees and service lines as well as flooding in areas with poor drainage.

 

"Meteorologists tell us the storm system is 'rapidly evolving' and that it will be extremely wet the next several days," said Cal EMA Secretary Mark Ghilarducci.  "We continue to monitor the situation very closely and remain in regular contact with the National Weather Service and county emergency managers."

 

In Turlock the storm has caused minimal damage thus far.

“It’s been really good so far,” said Ray Garcia, the maintenance supervisor for the City of Turlock. “We did a lot of preparation work and we haven’t had any big problems yet. Now, we are crossing our fingers that it continues that way through the weekend.”

Garcia said there had been two downed trees and some minor street flooding that city crews had handled. A city worker will be on standby through the weekend and will call in additional help if the storm causes more damage, Garcia said.

The city does have sandbags available for residents to use free of charge. Residents can pick up to 10 sandbags at the wastewater treatment plant parking lot at 901 S. Walnut Road. The sandbags are available 24 hours a day. If there are none available this weekend, residents should call 668-1200.

The Turlock Irrigation District also was reporting few problems associated with the storm. One power outage that lasted about one hour was reported in the Soderquist Road and South Avenue area early Friday morning, said TID spokesperson Herb Smart.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, .63 inches of rain had fallen in Turlock, according to TID figures.

The rainfall total for the year is about 62 percent of normal, Smart said.

“There is plenty of room in the reservoirs, so there’s no problem there,” Smart said.

Residents should be cautious of any power lines downed during the storm.

“Never touch downed wires,” Smart said. “Always assume it’s an electrical line and call 911.”

Residents experiencing extended power outages can call TID’s 24-hour service line at 883-8301.

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