Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirske said Tuesday this month’s flooding and heavy winds caused roughly $15 million in damage, a toll that is likely to increase following further assessments.
Dirkse, who doubles as the county’s emergency services director, gave county supervisors an update Tuesday on the storm emergency and said the county is in the recovery phase but a local emergency will remain in effect.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are expected to visit the county on Wednesday to tour flood-damaged areas.
The estimate represents damage figures from cities and other agencies Dirkse said.
The county is asking people to submit information on damages, starting with a link and an initial form on the Office of Emergency Services website. There is no guarantee of getting assistance from the federal government, state or the county, the sheriff said.
The county Office of Emergency Services also has times set aside this week to collect information on damages from people in Crows Landing, Newman and Diablo Grande.
At this point, the chief concern is the possibility of more atmospheric river storms in the warmer months of March and April.
Dirkse said the powerful storms in December and January, dumping more than 8 inches of rain on Modesto and up to 20 feet of mountain snow, occurred when there was a large amount of capacity in reservoirs upstream on the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers.
Because of runoff and snowmelt, the reservoirs will have far less capacity in the upcoming warmer months if there are additional atmospheric river events, and that will cause a major rise in river levels, Dirkse said.
The county Office of Emergency Services will continue planning for the worst. There are a number of locations designated for emergency shelters across the county, Dirkse said.
A total of 176 people were evacuated during the recent winter emergency, including 54 residents relocated proactively from a nursing home in Newman.
More than 200 homes and 675 people were affected by evacuation zones declared by emergency officials, and 319 homes and 1,100 people were warned they may need to evacuate. The main trouble spots were along the San Joaquin River near Newman and Patterson and the Tuolumne River and Dry Creek in south Modesto.
The damage across the county to residential property, farms and roads was caused by creek flooding on the county’s West Side, along with winds toppling trees in Modesto and other cities and localized flooding on the east side of the county.
The county Office of Emergency Services will collect information on damages at the Crows Landing Fire Station on Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m.; at the Newman Fire Station, 1162 N St., Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m.; and at the Diablo Grande Clubhouse on Thursday, also from 3 to 7 p.m.