PLANADA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The cleanup kicked off Thursday in Planada, where the mandatory evacuation order was raised just after midnight, after a series of intense floods which stemmed from the latest round of storms.
Residents were allowed to return to their homes Thursday but found completely different ones than they left behind.
That was especially true just northeast of the train tracks which divide the small community.
Our crews could not access that point in previous attempts; an area where each of the homes sustained significant flood damage.
Many of the people who live in them now find themselves without flood insurance.
Miguel Nava, who rented his home on the northeast side of the tracks has lived in Planada for 40 years without an issue.
He said the rising water that overtook him and his neighbors was like something out of a movie.
“A wave of water just came in and then just took us out. As you can see, water was to the top of the middle of the sofa there, throughout my whole house there,” he said as he pointed to a now-wrecked sofa.
Nava said as he rents his home, he wasn’t required to have flood insurance like those who own a home in that part of town.
With only renters insurance, his belongings weren’t covered.
He told us he lost everything.
“I’m in that boat. And I’m pretty sure a lot of people in Planada are in the same boat as I am but like I said, material stuff can be replaced. We can’t,” said Nava.
He and his neighbors took time to clean out their flooded homes before they would eventually join the rest of the community to toss what were previously precious belongings into the dumpster.
While residents are back in town, they are advised against drinking tap water as it could be contaminated.
Nearby in Le Grand, the staff and students at Le Grand High School, where Planada students attend, have called on the community to help in any way they can.
“We’re trying to get water out there today and then also clothes, um you know some of our kids have been in wet clothes since Monday,” said Superintendent Donna Alley of the Le Grand High School District.
“Anything that people will call and tell us that they need, then that’s what we will gather for them,” she said.
Many have already done their part, some brought in anything they could spare, as others brought in entire pallets of supplies.
It’s all part of an all-hands-on-deck attitude in the community.
While many students from Planada weren’t able to come to school Thursday, those who could just do their best to step up in aid of their friends and neighbors.
“It feels amazing to be here and help other people. Especially in my community with witnessing that everything just happened. It was pretty bad. The floods hit most of the town and a lot of people are struggling but we’re here trying our best and trying to get everything set right,” said Santos Garcia, a Planada resident, and junior at Le Grand High School.
The school has planned to accept donations from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, and Monday through Friday of next week.
They also hope to have people there on the weekend to accept donations as well.
If you can’t donate in person to the school ag department, you can do so monetarily via their ASB Venmo account, @LGHS-ASB.