This article was written by Alexis Castro Juarez
As a storm nears California, local governments prepare by closing roads already affected by the recent rains and offer sandbags to residents to prepare for expected heavy rain through Jan. 5. The National Weather service also issues flood watch and wind advisories.
San Benito County said the road closures announced Dec. 31 continue as of Jan. 4. The roads include:
- Rocks Road near Hwy 156
- Anzar Road near Lake McAlpine
- Union Road is experiencing flooding near Union Heights and near Riverside Road
- San Juan Hwy is experiencing flooding near Prescott Road
The county advised residents to drive slow and be cautious. It also issued an evacuation warning for parts of north county.
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for San Benito County until Jan. 5 at 4 p.m.
According to the National Weather Service, a potent atmospheric river will begin to impact the region Jan. 4 and continue into Jan. 5.
“Showers and isolated thunderstorms will then bring periods of heavy rain to the region as well on Thursday,” the advisory said. “As a result, rapid rises will occur along area creeks, streams, and rivers. Several streams and creeks will likely exceed bankfull. In addition strong gusty winds will continue to bring down branches and trees, which may cause localized damming of water ways.”
The city of Hollister announced Jan. 3 sandbags are available to residents on a self-serve basis for localized flooding emergencies.
The announcement said a pile of sand and burlaps bags are located at the following locations:
- Hollister Airport – 60 Airport Drive, Hollister
- Hollister Fire Station 2 – 1,000 Union Road, Hollister
- Hollister Public WorksYard – 1321 South Street, Hollister (Max of 12 bags per HouseHold)
- County Yard – 3220 Southside Road, Hollister
- San Juan Bautista City Yard – Jefferson and First Streets, San Juan Bautista
The National Weather Service also issued a high wind warning until Jan. 5, at 10 a.m.
According to the warning, southerly winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph are expected in valley locations and 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph above 1,000 feet. It added that local gusts to be around 70 mph along the coast and highest peaks in San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Coast.
The National Weather Service said that damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines.
“Widespread power outages are expected,” the warning said. “Traveling will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.”
The National Weather Service said it suggests that people avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches and to remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows.
The BenitoLink Internship Program is a paid, skill-building program that prepares local youth for a professional career. This program is supported by Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Golf Tour, United Way, Taylor Farms and the Emma Bowen Foundation.