MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The community of Planada and areas of Merced are still faced with an evacuation order Wednesday.
However, some of those people ordered to evacuate stayed behind.
In Planada, the water had gone down compared to Tuesday, but many streets were still completely flooded.
Nearby, a line of cars waited for escorts to get back home to grab belongings left behind.
Some had to stay, like Salvador Ramirez, who has lived in Planada for 12 years.
He told me he has never seen anything like the “river” that has now formed outside his home.
“Actually, we were supposed to be in an area that is no (a) flooded zone… but now we have the water here on our street,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez said his home wasn’t insured against a flood, the same as many of his neighbors, who worked like crazy to pile up sandbags to protect their homes by any means necessary.
“I was scared. That’s why I took my family out. They went to live, stay with my in-laws but I came back,” he said.
As the water has gone down, Ramirez was fortunate.
But it was a very close call for many others.
Ironically, insurance agent Annissa Fragoso of Merced was asked to evacuate her home, a home that also falls outside the flood zone.
“People would think if you don’t need it don’t buy it. You know? And for myself, and I would say 90% of our community, never ever thought that this was gonna happen,” said Fragoso, an insurance agent for Farmer’s Insurance.
If you aren’t in a flood zone flood insurance is optional.
Fragoso said if you just started a policy, like she just did, it won’t help over the next 30 days, as that is the waiting period through FEMA.
“Flood is excluded under my homeowner plan. So, I don’t have coverage under my home policy. So that’s where everybody else is at in our community,” she said.
Fragoso said if you are curious about your coverage, to look at the exclusions section in your coverage, to see what is and isn’t covered.
As for the city of Merced, some evacuation orders have been lifted.
In Planada, Merced County officials tell me crews continue to work non-stop to reopen the community.
An exact timeline was not provided, but they say it could happen soon.