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Storm preparations underway in Santa Maria

Sandbags
Posted at 4:42 PM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-03 22:59:11-05

Full preparations for this week’s expected rain are underway in Santa Maria.

“Sometimes rainwater will run toward your house. Sandbags are basically used to redirect that water,” said Derrick Morelos, a maintenance worker with the City of Santa Maria’s Public Works Department.

Ahead of last week’s rain, several “free sand” piles were placed around Santa Maria, welcoming residents to fill up bags to place around their homes ahead of the rain.

Morelos says filling the bags is pretty easy.

“It is really not that hard. Give the bag a couple rolls, you just put it on the ground, grab a shovel, and in she goes.” Morelos told KSBY.

However, the City of Santa Maria does not provide the shovels and sandbags themselves, but associates at Santa Maria’s Farm Supply Company say they have everything you may need to prepare your home for rain.

“When we get our rains, especially when they get a little heavy, the farmers, the County and the City has to be prepared for that; and that is where the sandbags come into play. We have got the two types, the burlap and the plastic,” said sales associate Greg Flores.

You can buy the sandbags at Farm Supply Company for under $1 a piece, but Flores says there are other ways people can get their houses ready.

“Lately, a lot of the sales have been going to what they call 'straw waddles,' which is a 25-foot section wrapped in plastic held down by stakes, again to divert the water to wherever you need,” Flores added.

Orcutt resident Amanda Chojnacky-Ankner says she regularly sees flooding near her home when it rains, adding that this year she is giving the straw waddles a try.

“The straw waddles, we have not seen yet, so hopefully they are going to work really well. The sandbags that we have are not actually sand, it is gel and silica that fills up when water hits it and they work really well,” Chojnacky-Ankner said.

There are a few things to keep in mind the next time you head out to fill up sandbags.

“Some people like to fill these things up all the way, so you have to remember you are going to be transporting these, so if you fill them up all the way, they are going to get heavy,” Morelos said.

“Usually, people are under buying. They will think that five is enough. They are usually going to come in for five more. I am one that always says, 'If you think it’s enough, it is not',” added Flores.

In case you still haven’t gotten around to filling up sandbags yet, City of Santa Maria officials say their sand piles will be available year-round, and will be replenished as they go down.

You can find a list of all the spots in Santa Maria where free sand is available, and where shovels and sandbags are sold, by clicking here.