By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Windy, Wet Weather Arrives
It's a pretty good bet that the region will at least hit the 'normal' rainfall total for this time of year by the end of the month, and probably by the end of the week.

With the normal for this time of year at just over five-and-a-half inches, the Escalon area stood at just over five inches by early morning Tuesday. But with rain forecast for the remainder of the week, officials were anticipating reaching and possibly surpassing the normal total. And while that is good news for the snowpack in the mountains and the water supply in the valley, residents were being advised to be wary of high winds and standing water, which could lead to unsafe conditions.

"We retain water in some of the parks," Escalon Public Works Director Patrick Riggs said, adding that the city has an agreement with South San Joaquin Irrigation District to hold water in those drainage basins during periods of heavy rainfall, so as not to overload the SSJID system.

Primarily, Sanchez and Reed parks are used for that and Riggs suggested residents stay away from those during the heavy rains predicted this week, in addition to being aware of standing water in other drainage basins as well.

"High wind is always an issue," Riggs added. "Basically at this time of year, we've got the chainsaws all ready to go, we have the big trucks ready."

That way, if high winds topple large tree limbs or if any major debris ends up on the roadways, Public Works crews can respond and get the problems resolved.

"We've already had one big windstorm that weeded out most of the weaker branches," he explained. "But if it keeps raining, soil will become soft ad people will need to watch their trees."

So far this winter, there hasn't been much demand for sandbags because rainstorms have been intermittent. With the wet weather in the forecast all week, however, Riggs said residents can stop by the City Corporation Yard on Main Street for sand and sandbags if they need them to protect against the possibility of flooding.

"We do have sand at the corp yard so we'll be set up," he said.

Crews have routinely kept drains clear of leaves and other debris so Riggs said there shouldn't be any flooding problems around the city.

Depending on the severity of the storms, though, isolated areas may have some problems.

"Over the weekend we had one street sign starting to lean but other than that, we've weathered the storm so far," said interim City Manager Doug Dunford. "The storms aren't hitting us all at once, so we have been able to recover from one before the next one hits."

Dunford said city crews are keeping an eye on trees and power lines during the high winds.

Weather forecasters are calling for rainy weather throughout the week, with a 90 percent chance of rain on Wednesday, 80 percent on Thursday and down to 70 percent on Thursday. Skies will clear to become partly cloudy for the weekend, with a return to intermittent rain showers on Monday.

Winds of 25 to 35 mph are expected to be common Wednesday and Thursday, with gusts up to 45 or 50 mph.

Escalon Fire Department Battalion Chief Terry Pinheiro said crews there were also keeping tabs on conditions, being on the lookout for any power lines or tree limbs down.

Residents are advised to use extra caution when driving in the rain, while being watchful for standing water that can cause hydroplaning. It is also the law to have your headlights on when using windshield wipers.