FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – First responders and Central Valley city workers are gearing up for the first winter storm of the season on Friday.
The California Highway Patrol said it plans to be out in full force in the coming days with every available officer on the road, and they are also urging preparedness.
“The last thing you want to do is be stuck out there either trying to put windshield wipers on, trying to put the snow chains on at the last minute,” officer Mike Salas said.
He said now is the time for people to make sure their vehicles are up to par and asks everyone to check essentials such as tires and headlights. He also said to slow down because the roadways will always be slicker than usual during the first rain.
At higher elevations, Salas recommended carrying warm clothing, along with extra food and water in case there’s a sudden road closure.
Meanwhile, Fresno City crews are working to clear drains to help prevent flooding and the City of Clovis was offering up a self serve sandbag station ahead of the storm.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said as the seasons change they’ll be shifting the focus from fires to mudslides and flooding.
The Creek Fire burn scar will continue to be an area of focus since storms can trigger natural disasters in this vulnerable area. A new interactive winter storm map will help people track risk levels and evacuation zones by using their addresses.
“We just want to give people the opportunity to do the research on their own. So many times you’re in the off hours you don’t know where to turn to, now all you have to do is go on your computer, your phone, bring up that link and zoom in exactly where you are,” Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said.
The Sheriff’s Office will have extra deputies in the mountain communities patrolling high-risk areas looking for problems and are asking residents to keep an eye out too and report anything they see.