A series of storms that meteorologists on Wednesday called the strongest in 10 years are forecast to bring as much as a foot of rainfall to the Mountain Area. The Madera County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) has established locations to pick up sand or sandbags to help residents protect their homes as a flash flood watch remains in effect as a result.
The storms, which started Tuesday afternoon, dropped two inches of rain in Oakhurst and surrounding locations by noon on Wednesday, said Dan Harty, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Hanford. He said as moisture continues to feed in from the coast, those numbers will rise dramatically, especially Saturday afternoon when the tempest is expected to gain strength and further drench the Mountain Area.
“This is the biggest storm we’ve had in a long time as far as rainfall,” Harty said. “It’s hard to exactly quantify at this point, but it’s been 10 years since we’ve seen a storm like this. This is definitely not your average storm.”
The following locations are available for sand and sandbags as part of the flash flood watch below 7,000 feet elevation, and the winter storm watch at those higher elevations due to heavy snowfall. For all locations, resident must bring their own shovels. Additional sandbags can be purchased at stores like the True Value Home Center in Oakhurst.
Both sand and bags
☆ Madera County Fire Station #8, 47050 Road 417, Coarsegold, CA, 93614. (559) 683-8008.
☆ Cal Fire, Rancheria Fire Station, 53488 Road 200, North Fork, CA, 93643. (559) 877-2322.
☆ Madera County Fire Station #12, 48355 Liberty Drive, Oakhurst, CA, 93644.
☆ Sewer Treatment Plant - Bass Lake, 40601 Road 274, Bass Lake, CA, 93604 (behind the courthouse).
☆ Sewer Treatment Plant - Oakhurst, 48382 Black Oak River Road, Oakhurst, CA, 93604.
Further locations in the Valley and cities of Madera and Chowchilla can be seen by clicking here and downloading the list under “Countywide Sandbag Locations.”
☆ Coarsegold Community Center, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 35540 Highway 41, Coarsegold, CA, 93614. (559) 683-7953.
☆ Yosemite Lakes Park Clubhouse, seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 30250 Yosemite Springs Parkway, Coarsegold, CA, 93614. (559) 658-7466.
☆ Sierra Senior Center, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the first three Saturdays of each month, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 4911 Cinder Lane, Oakhurst, CA, 93644. (559) 658-2200.
☆ Grace Community Church, Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 56442 Road 200, North Fork, CA, 93643. (559) 877-2346.
Also, as part of the winter storms, the OES offers these tips:
Important winter supplies to keep at home
☆ Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways.
☆ Sand to improve vehicle traction.
☆ Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
☆ Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
☆ Adequate clothing and blankets to keep warm.
Make a family communications plan
For more tips on staying safe during storms or emergencies, click here to visit ready.gov.