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Rising river displacing homeless in Yuba
Less than 30 yards behind where his daughter's motor home was parked, the Yuba River was literally a growing concern for Alvy Moss, whose truck couldn't tow her out.
"I don't think there's any danger right now," said Moss, of Yuba City, as his daughter pondered ways to get the motor home up and running. He laughed. "But there will be."
For his daughter and dozens of others who live near the region's waterways, Friday meant keeping one eye on the rising current and the other on possible escape routes, with more rain expected through the weekend.
Officers from the Marysville Police Department and the Yuba County Sheriff's Department went into the more low-lying areas near Jack Slough and Simpson Lane to warn those living there — many of them homeless — of rising waters, along with an encouragement to evacuate.
"You're going to have water standing here, 2, 3 foot," said Marysville police Sgt. Chris Sachs, to people living in tents or modest shelters near the rising slough northwest of Marysville. "It's easier to get you out of here during daytime than in the night."
Still, the situation Friday wasn't quite a calamity, with scattered reports of power outages, street flooding and rising rivers.
Yuba County spokesman Russ Brown said at one point, the water in Bullards Bar Reservoir was rising a foot an hour, while Lake Oroville was filling at 21⁄2 feet an hour.
"It's all water coming down," Brown said, noting the weekend series of tropical storms was expected to deliver a lot of rain but not much snow. "Luckily, the levels behind the dams are pretty low, so they can take it."
The bulk of the storm was expected to come tonight and into Sunday, the same point at which the Yuba River was expected to reach the "watch" stage for possible flooding, or about 73 feet. Flood stage is 88 feet.
As of Friday evening, the California Department of Water Resources' Data Exchange Center showed the Yuba at about 69 feet near Marysville, the Feather River at 43 feet in Yuba City and the Bear River running at between 1 and 2 feet near Wheatland.
In addition to the Yuba, Brown said, Dry Creek near Wheatland was also being watched for flooding. Emergency response officials in both Yuba and Sutter counties had warned small creeks could increase flood risk through Sunday, when wet weather is expected to tail off.
Yuba County sheriff's Deputy Ben Martin said many of those in the river's path were aware of the possible danger and making plans to move to higher ground if they hadn't already.
"We've been packing up, and when it gets high, we will move," Geri Morris told him when he stopped by their encampment near the Yuba on Friday morning, as one of her dogs continually yapped.
Near Jack Slough, many residents told Sachs the same thing Friday evening.
But while he said he was resigned to leaving, Joel Jarocki said there was still an unanswered question.
"The main thing I'm thinking is what to do with everything, then where to go?" he said, ticking off his tent, personal belongings, and other camping gear he hoped to keep dry. "The only reason we're down here is because we don't have anywhere else to go."