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City braces for impact of big storm
sandbag pic
The City of Turlock has sandbags available for residents who experience flooding. Sand bags are available for pick up at 901 S. Walnut Rd. between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal


Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day

Food—at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food


Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)

Extra batteries

First aid kit

Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)

Multi-purpose tool

Sanitation and personal hygiene items

Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

Cell phone with chargers

Family and emergency contact information

Extra cash

Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)

Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)

Tools/supplies for securing your home

Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery

Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members

Ample alternate heating method


— Courtesy of the American Red Cross

In the words of a salty old sea captain, it’s time to batten down the hatches because a big storm is brewing.

A storm that many meteorologists are calling one of the biggest the area has seen in recent years, is expected to move into the area starting tonight and stay through early Saturday. Along the way the storm is expected to herald in strong wind gusts and drop a fair amount of rain.

The National Weather Service is predicting the Turlock/Modesto area will get an estimated 1 to 1.5 inches of rain. Further north, the storm is expected to bring three to six inches of rain over the three days, while elevations above 6,000 feet could get one to three feet of snow.

The storm system moving in from the Gulf of Alaska is expected to make its presence felt beginning  late tonight and early Thursday morning, with rain and wind in the 11 to 18 mph region, according to the National Weather Service.

The full brunt of the storm is expected to hit Thursday, with rain and possible thunderstorms. The National Weather Service is predicting wind at 20 to 24 mph, with gusts up to 38 mph. The rain and thunderstorms are expected to continue into Friday, before tapering off early Saturday.

The Stanislaus County Office of Emergency Services is recommending residents keep a radio, flashlight, and batteries on hand, as well as a supply of water, nonperishable food and blankets.

The oncoming storm has city crews busy with preparations for the onslaught of wind and rain.

“We are as ready as we can be,” said Michael Cooke, the city’s municipal services director. “Now we’ll wait and see what Mother Nature throws at us.”

City crews have been doubling up their efforts to pick up leaves in an attempt to stave off any localized street flooding. Residents are encouraged to clear storm drains of leaves and debris to help improve the flow of water into the storm system. However, residents should not remove storm grates or manhole covers, because it can pose safety risk.

For residents who do routinely experience street flooding, the City of Turlock has sandbags available. Sand bags are available for pick up at 901 S. Walnut Rd. between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Due to limited resource,  residents are asked to limit themselves to 10 bags per residence. Delivery may be available to residents who qualify and additional distribution spots may open up if needed. There is no charge for the sandbags.

Delhi residents can get sandbags at the Delhi Fire Station at 16056 Arcadia St.

To make room for all the rain, the city has pumped down Donnelly Lake to generate more capacity.

“Donnelly Lake is at a lower level than it has been in quite a while,” Cooke said.

The high winds expected with this storm could cause some power outages, though the Turlock Irrigation District is not expecting to experience any long-running  blackouts, said TID spokesperson Calvin Curtain.

“We have a contingency plan to bring on extra crews if needed,” Curtain said. “We could have spot outages, but we are not expecting any significant outages. We are prepared the best we can be for this storm.”

If TID customers experience a power outage they should first check to see if the outage is affecting the rest of the neighborhood, or if it is localized to just their home, in which case it could be an issue with the circuit breaker. If the power outage affects the whole neighborhood and lasts longer than five minutes, customers can call TID’s Service Division at 883-8301.

TID will report any outages and their expected duration on their Twitter feed.

Anyone seeing a downed power line should exercise extreme caution around it and call the TID’s Service Division or 911. Never clear fallen branches or debris from a downed power line.

If necessary, after hours city crews will be deployed to respond to calls for flooding and downed trees blocking roadways and sidewalks. Calls for service between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. may be made to 668-5594 or 668-5590. After normal business hours, call 668-1200 for any non-emergency service. Non-emergency calls for service will be prioritized and handled depending on the availability of resources.