As storms are projected to continue through an El Niño winter, sandbags are available across the Mountain Area in preparation for additional heavy rain and snow.
At the Madera County Office of Emergency Services wesbite (http://bit.ly/1JGdhrk), there is a list of areas to pick up sandbags, including: Cal Fire stations No. 12 in Oakhurst, No. 8 in Coarsegold, and the Rancheria Station in North Fork; as well as the sewer treatment plants in Bass Lake and Oakhurst.
Shovels are required at all locations, and at some, bags are provided for free. Call the Madera County Sheriff’s Office at (559) 675-7770 and ask for the emergency services department for more information.
At Station 10 in Yosemite Lakes Park, free, pre-filled sandbags are also available by contacting the Yosemite Lakes Owner’s Association at (559) 658-7466.
There’s a limit of 10 per household, said Tammie D’Amore, chief of security for the YLOA, but they’re willing to help those who need extra bags as needed.
“This is not for total flood protection, by any means,” D’Amore said. “But it’s helpful to divert water from your land in case these big storms keep coming through here.”
Businesses in the Mountain Area also have sandbags available for sale.
At True Value Home Center in Oakhurst, 50-pound filled bags are selling like hotcakes, employee Denise Bryant said.
“We haven’t even had them for sale a week yet and they’ve sold out twice,” Bryant said. “They’re going really fast.”
Some locations, such as the Bass Lake Marina, received as much as 3.5 inches of rain in a 48-hour period during storms last week, per National Weather Service Data.
Meteorologists said such systems haven’t been seen in Central California since 2010, and the latest figures indicate the El Niño winter is still gaining strength.