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McFarland residents assess the damage so far; more rain to come

By Vania Patino, 23ABC, Amy Pachla, 23ABC,


Be careful what you wish for.

That's how many people in McFarland are saying they feel right now, because although the area has been needing rain for years, this much is becoming too much. Residents are using sandbags to protect their homes from flooding, but even that isn't enough to stop the overwhelming amount of water from finding its way in.

McFarland resident Sandra Pastrana says that on Saturday, her street looked more like a river. The family tried to put sandbags alongside their house before they knew they would have to evacuate. By 7:00 that evening, however, the water began crossing the street.

Pastrana recalls her family grabbing whatever important documents they had and packing the things they were going to need to have on hand until they were able to return.

Hours later, in water Pastrana says came up nearly to her knees, she says they evacuated overnight Saturday, staying with family. Pastrana speaking in Spanish, says it was traumatic to see all the water and filth.

March 14, 2023 - McFarland resident Sandra Pastrana describes how the road in front of her home was turned into a river by the weekend's storms. More storms are forecasted for Kern County this week.

Poso Creek, which runs nearby to Pastrana's home, was calmer on Tuesday afternoon than it was over the weekend, but the water is still high and fast. Pastrana hopes the water stays calmer, otherwise the area will flood again.

23ABC news crews saw cars from several county sheriff's offices, something the Kern County Board of Supervisors discussed at their Tuesday meeting, with Kern County Fire Chief Aaron Duncan noting that over 7,000 sandbags were distributed to residents across the county.

Additionally, Duncan says authorities have established 6 evacuation sites and assessed more than 350 homes for damage.

Pastrana says she's noticed county officials checking in on the community. She says they tried to put up fences stacked with sandbags around the pond over the weekend, but it wasn't enough to hold the water back.

Pastrana's main concern about the flood water has been and continues to be her grandchildren's safety and making sure the water doesn't touch them, as it is untreated and very likely contaminated. She says the family can recover material things, but she hopes her family stays safe after having to step in all that dirty flood water.

As Kern's communities continue to deal with the rainfall and flooding, the next step will be rebuilding, checking what needs to be replaced, and determining how long that might take. 23ABC will continue to follow the developments and bring you those details.

To get up to the minute safety alerts and notifications, sign up for the Kern County Emergency Alert Program, ReadyKern .

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