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Sacramento County Expects El Nino Flooding

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RIO LINDA --

After years of engineering upgrades, a flood-prone area of Sacramento County just north of the city is much better equipped to handle high volumes of water.

In 1995, and again in the El Nino year of 1997, streets and homes were flooded when creeks overflowed. Since then, creeks have been cleared and widened and banks reinforced. Dozens of homes were also raised an extra story with the help of FEMA funding.

"We're in so much better shape than we were before," said George Booth, a senior civil engineer for Sacramento County.

But Booth also says there are no guarantees that individual properties will stay dry during a heavy rainstorm. He advises homeowners to determine where water enters the property and where it goes. He says county engineers will assist in solving flood issues because each property is different.

He suggests that homeowners get sandbags ahead of time rather than wait for emergency sandbags to be offered by the county.

Dee Douglas Musillami said she got 4 feet of water on her property next to a creek in Rio Linda. It came within inches of her front door. Last December her yard was under 18 inches of water and that wasn't considered a heavy rain year.

"The scary thing about the El Nino is that I know it can come over and come up again," said Musillami.

Earl Rice lives in a house that was elevated by FEMA, but he still gets water on his property. He lost some vehicles in the yard several years ago and is preparing for more water just in case.

"With El Nino coming this year, we're unsure...I did take precautions and got sandbags, " said Rice.