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City prepares for major storm heading towards Merced

Mike Conway

Post Date:01/05/2017

City prepares for major storm expected this weekend

'Wet atmospheric river' takes aim at California threatening floods: NWS

The National Weather Service is predicting a huge storm for the weekend that could bring up to 3 inches of rain to Merced. Flood warnings have been issued throughout the state because a 'wet atmospheric river will take aim at California.'

'City crews have spent the week preparing for this storm,' said Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz. 'They've been clearing streets and gutters of leaves and debris, checking storm drain pumps and taking other precautions to safeguard local residents.'

'If you have to be out driving this weekend, please be careful and allow extra time to reach your destination,' said Mayor Mike Murphy.

'Please don't forget your neighbors. If you have elderly neighbors, consider checking in on them to make sure they are OK. They could probably use some assistance or company,' Murphy said.

The City has stored sand in 10 locations throughout the City and sandbags are available at Fire Station 51 during regular business hours. Sandbags can also be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores. A map showing the sand locations is available at the City website,

The City website also has links to the National Weather Service website that contains detailed information on the storm, including forecast information, radar maps, and any warnings that have been issued. The website also contains links to information regarding water levels on Bear Creek and other local streams.

The City has worked with local homeless providers to check local creeks to make sure there are no people camped along the streams.

Our Emergency Operations Center is on standby in case it needs to be activated.

City staff urges everyone to be prepared in case of power outages. Have batteries for flashlights, not candles for light in your home. Have alternative power sources for your cellphone and have a full tank of gas in advance of the storm. If you are dependent on a medical device, make sure you have a power source for it.

Below is information provided by FEMA on what to do during a power outage and also information on assembling a three-day disaster supply kit for the family.

  Information is provided by FEMA. For more information, go to

Before a Power Outage

Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.

Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. For more information visit: Get Tech Ready

Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.

Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.

Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.

Keep your car's gas tank full-gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by visiting your state's or local website so you can locate the closest cooling and warming shelters.

If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like a medical device determine a back-up plan. For more planning information tips visit: Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs

  During a Power Outage: Safety Tips

Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. For more information about food safety visit our food page.

Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or 'cooling shelter' that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.

Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.

Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power 'surge' that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.

If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.

Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system.

  After a Power Outage

Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40' F (4' C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!

If food in the freezer is colder than 40' F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.

Contact your doctor if you're concerned about medications having spoiled.

Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

Flashlight and extra batteries

First aid kit

Whistle to signal for help

Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Manual can opener for food

Local maps

Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Additional emergency supplies

Once you have gathered the supplies for a basic emergency kit, you may want to consider adding the following items:

Prescription medications and glasses

Infant formula and diapers

Pet food and extra water for your pet

Cash or traveler's checks and change

Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.

Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.

Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.

Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper ' When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

Fire extinguisher

Matches in a waterproof container

Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils

Paper and pencil

Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

First aid kit

In any emergency a family member or you yourself may suffer an injury. If you have these basic first aid supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt.

Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. You may consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.

Two pairs of Latex or other sterile gloves if you are allergic to Latex

Sterile dressings to stop bleeding

Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes

Antibiotic ointment

Burn ointment

Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes

Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant


Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.

Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies

Non-prescription drugs:

Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever

Anti-diarrhea medication



Other first aid supplies:



Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant

  Supplies for the Unique Needs

Remember the unique needs of your family members, including growing children, when making your emergency supply kit and family emergency plan.

For Baby:




Powdered milk


Moist towelettes

Diaper rash ointment

For more information about the care and feeding of infants and young children during an emergency, visit the California Dept. of Public Health website.

For Adults:

Denture needs

Contact lenses and supplies

Extra eye glasses

Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin and other prescription drugs.

If you live in a cold climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that you will not have heat. Think about your clothing and bedding supplies. Be sure to include one complete change of clothing and shoes per person, including:

Jacket or coat

Long pants

Long sleeve shirt

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