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Community Feels Effects From Wet, Windy Storms
The Stanislaus River has risen at Jacob Myers Park so much that there is almost no shore and park guests had to tread lightly as the high winds blew down some branches. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Californians have been hit with a number of storms this winter that have caused issues up and down the west coast. From mudslides and flooding in southern California, avalanches, road closures and record snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the high winds blowing down trees and power lines, along with the record totals of rainfall in the Central Valley, a ray of sunshine this week should be a welcomed change of weather. Although this weather has positively affected the California drought situation that has plagued the west coast for several years and most people are grateful, it has also caused some damage.

A few weeks ago the City of Riverbank offered residents sandbags as well as delivered bags due to the significant amount of rain in the storms that made their way through the region. Although the weather forecast shows sunshine in the near future, sandbags are still available at the City Corp Yard if residents are in need of additional bags.

“The city has experienced some minor flooding that staff has been able to successfully deal with,” stated Riverbank City Manager Sean Scully. “Overall we are pleased with how the city storm system is handling the storms over the past week.”

It has been reported that the Public Works Department received over 100 calls for assistance throughout the storms that brought high winds and an enormous amount of rain.

“We had several trees come down due to the wind related to the storm,” added city Public Works Superintendent Michael Riddell. “There were some power losses due to trees that fell into power lines. The power outages were minor and of a short duration so they did not affect any city services.”

With approximately 16 trees downed and a few of them that fell onto homes there was only minor damage and no injuries, according Riddell. The only temporary road closures caused by the storm were due to trees being down and not due to flooding.

“Staff has an ongoing maintenance program for the storm drain system,” stated Riddell. “That being said, the first problem is tree leaves coming down. That issue was dealt with on the first large storm earlier in the month.

“During the storm staff put in some long hours making sure drain inlets were clear and flowing, the pump stations were up and running, and keeping a close watch on all of the retention basins throughout the city.”

The city offers some tips to prepare for the next storm by suggesting residents clean the grate on the drain inlet of leaves and debris in front of their residence along the curb line during dry periods. Clearing out rain gutters, securing outdoor furniture, and securing fences if necessary are also a few things residents can do to prepare for a storm.

“We also spent a considerable amount of time both during and after hours responding to requests from residents for help,” expressed Riddell. “Which could be just advice on what to do and request for sand bags, to delivery of sand bags and placement for the elderly who were not able to do so themselves.”

Scully said the weather showed how well the city and its citizens can work together.

“We are appreciative of how understanding the community has been and also appreciative of our different departments working together to make sure all bases are covered so we can avoid any serious emergency situations,” stated Scully.