MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The City of Merced issued an evacuation warning for the areas near and surrounding Bear Creek.

Bear Creek that runs through the heart of the City of Merced is expected to flood as more rain pours onto the Central Valley.

Local officials are working on putting sandbags and “muscle walls”, large barriers, alongside the creek bed, even while the storm raged on.

A portion of North Bear Creek Rd. was closed for a few days so crews could work on getting the barriers up.

All of this, to try and give homeowners a sense of safety.

“They’ve been here for at least three days, just working and getting all of this done,” said Julie Eichelberger.

Eichelberger has lived across the street from the creek for over 10 years.

“One of our neighbors sent us all an email saying hey the creek might overflow, so take some precautions,” she said.

This wouldn’t be the first time the creek has flooded.

For the first few days before the storm, CalFire inmate crews, the same ones that battle flames during the summer, are now battling storms like this one during the winter. According to CalFire, inmate crews and public works have laid over 45,000 sandbags alongside the creek bed.
They’re laying sandbags as the creek rises right behind them.

“Public works crews, our fire department, and our police department have been working around the clock, to prepare some areas where we’ve seen some historical flooding activity,” said Jennifer Flachman with the City of Merced.

According to Flachman, the state and county issuing state of emergencies has allowed the city to work with other agencies and get the resources they need.

“Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency, the county of Merced declared a local emergency, and then the city joined in and declared a local emergency so that we could all mobilize together,” she said. The city says they are ready to send out evacuation warnings or orders if they become necessary throughout the city.