MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Stevinson’s Hagaman Park continued to look more like a pond than a park Wednesday, as a rising Merced River has kept the area in flood stage for about the past week.
With the latest atmospheric river earlier this week, and thunderstorms Wednesday, meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Hanford told me that’s not going to change.
“Between now and the end of the weekend it’s gonna stay at that level so really they don’t really have any relief in sight, as we continue to see precipitation and it has to go down the Merced River. So, it will continue to cause a problem at Stevinson,” said Carlos Molina, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Hanford.
Just east of Stevinson, the City of Merced came off preparations for possible floods of Bear Creek early Wednesday, with fortifications in place and ready to go.
Bear Creek fell short of their roughly 23-foot expectation and was expected to rise to just over 17 feet Thursday morning.
“It’s expected to reach just over the monitor stage. So, we’re continuing to monitor that to see if there are any changes in the forecast or if any additional flows are coming in,” said Merced Fire Battalion Chief Casey Wilson.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the city had shifted its primary focus to the banks of Bear Creek. Those residents continue to see heavy erosion, which ultimately forced the closure of sidewalks, bike paths, and other areas no longer safe for the public.
“In my career here in 20 years, this is certainly the most extreme. Our flows have been so high, as far as the volume and the height, that this has certainly been much more excessive than any other years we’ve seen in the past,” said Wilson.
Those flows could continue to rise once again and with so much snow in the mountains, the city hopes for a gradual warm-up instead of a quick one.
In the meantime, they ask that residents steer clear of the banks of Bear Creek if possible.