Sheriff Vern Warnke of Merced County, California appealed to residents in flooding evacuation zones to “please help us by helping yourself” in a video message recorded Tuesday morning.
Sheriff Warnke issued an evacuation order for the entire town of Planada and deputies were going door to door to help residents evacuate.
“Do you think that we are going to be rolling around in the mud if you don’t want to get out of your house? No,” Warnke said. “But understand that if you don’t get out of your house, the resources coming to get you might be slim because we got them dedicated to folks coming out.”
“So if you stay back and then all of a sudden you need help it may not be available, so when I ask you to get out please do so, it’s not because we are trying to do anything other than keep you safe.”
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office took to social media to implore drivers not to drive through flooded roadways or pass barricades.
“We’ve had people absolutely disregarding the barricades. Folks, that is for your safety. We had someone a little bit ago in Planada come across the railroad tracks thinking they were going to be cute and got into the water. Next thing you know they became bobbers. Their cars are now ruined. We have hundred-plus cars in Planada that are ruined through natural causes, by them sitting in the yard where the water came up. Or numbskulls running barricades and thinking they should be able to go through there,” said Warnke.
Residents in Merced are asked to avoid travelling unless it is absolutely necessary as major flooding is occurring along local roads and highways.