SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California is set to get its first major rainfall of the season. The rain comes as the state is mired in a severe drought that has gripped much of the western United States.
The National Weather Service says storms this week could dump up to 7 inches of rain in some areas of the state's Central Valley. The rain could help quash some smoldering wildfires in the mountains while preventing new ones from starting.
State officials said Tuesday the rain could reduce some water restrictions on farmers. But it won't be enough to catch up the state on all the water it lost during the summer.
Watch below as ABC10 Chief Meteorologist Monica Woods breaks down the major storm impacts ahead for Northern California. Read the full AP story here.
Preparations underway in Northern California
From homeowners to public works, people across the region are preparing for the storms expected in the coming days.
With a leaf blower in hand, Dick Zarzana was clearing out the front of his Land Park home.
“Get all the leaves out, although I know there’s gonna be a lot more when Sunday or Monday rolls around,” he said.
The rain showers are expected across the Sacramento Valley over the next week and are likely to get progressively heavier through Tuesday.
“One of the biggest problems we have early on in storm seasons are that residents don’t get to their drains, and we end up having a lot of localized street flooding because of it,” said Matt Robinson, spokesperson for Sacramento County.
Sacramento County Public Works officials are on standby and urging people to check their drains ahead of the storm.
Meanwhile, snow and gusty winds are expected in the Sierra. Caltrans crews are also on 24/7 storm watch and warning about potential problems in the Caldor Fire burn areas.
A homeless crisis and incoming storm
Sacramento County leaders confirm they may be forced to clear several homeless encampments because of safety concerns. With several days of bad weather back in the forecast, leaders insist safety is their top priority,
“The whole idea is just to make sure that the area is clear of weeds and debris, and we want to make sure that we are not interrupting and causing too much harm to the homeless population in terms of having to move their location,” Robinson said.
They’re even working with law enforcement to provide notification
“We don’t just go in. We actually work with the sheriff’s department to give them 72-hours notice to make sure that they get out so that our crews can come in and clear the area,” Robinson said.
However, it begs the question of where the homeless population is expected to go. The City of Sacramento provided the following statement.
"Since last winter the city has opened a new navigation center on X Street, safe grounds in the WX corridor and in Miller Park. We’ve secured 350 motel rooms for homeless families, and we continue to press forward with housing that covers the entire continuum, from safe grounds to permanent supportive housing. We acknowledge the serious need for places where people can take shelter during bad weather, and we are working as hard as we can to identify places that are appropriately safe and can be appropriately staffed to serve people who are living outdoors. We hope to be announcing some sites that we can open for the winter in the coming days."
The was no official announcement of an inclement weather shelter even as the rain is expected to move in tonight. However, the city says they hope to have an answer in a matter of days.
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