MADERA COUNTY, California (KSEE) – The Sheriff of Madera County is asking locals not to travel during this weekend’s winter storm.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for search and rescue operations, which Sheriff Tyson Pogue says includes rescuing people who make poor decisions.
“Often these well-meaning folks who drive their vehicles too far or get stuck in the snow and when that happens it ties up resources to go and rescue them when we should be patrolling and caring for other priorities,” said Sheriff Pogue.
Earlier this week, strong winds downed trees, cut power, and blocked roads. Sheriff Pogue says the cleanup is not yet finished.
“Resources are already stretched thin with this prior event. So we’re urging the public to limit their travel into the mountain areas. We’re asking them to stay home. If you must travel we ask that you use extreme caution and be prepared for that significant weather.”
PG&E’s Denny Boyles says they’re prioritizing repairs so that power is restored to the highest number of customers fastest.
“For some of them, that outage is likely to extend for several more days. One of the things we’ve seen – and I just talked to crews this morning – is areas where we still don’t even have access to get to where our damaged equipment is because trees are down across roads. We have to wait for the roads to be cleared.”
Caltrans’ Elizabeth Yelton says the agency has been working around the clock.
“One shift will start at noon and will go to midnight. And then the other shift will come at midnight and go to noon. It’s a constant workforce out there on the roadways.”
CHP officer Gregorio Rodriguez just wants everyone to slow down.
“I think the main thing is to slow down in the rain and the snow. Your vehicle is not going to react like it should on dry placement or dry asphalt surface.”
Those who do brave mountain roads will need to carry chains – and the tools to use them. Motorists should also have a first aid kit, warm clothes, water, and extra food in case they get stuck.