Storm Preps Underway Across The Valley

Rudy Diaz is taking advantage of the calm before the storm.

"This tree right here has been causing a lot of problems," Diaz said, pointing to the tree that sits in front of the home next door to his mother's.

Diaz says every time it rains, the front yard of his mom's southeast Fresno home looks more like a lake.

"It was a huge pile of leaves right here, stopping the flow of water. Pretty much with the shovel, we start shoveling the leaves out of the way," Diaz said.

People all around the Valley are following Rudy's lead; preparing for a storm of uncertain proportions.

And maintenance workers with the city of Fresno are no different.

"We redirect our crews that would normally be out maintaining streets, doing crack seals, pouring concrete, doing those sorts of operations and we redirect them into our storm response," Brian Russell, City of Fresno Street Maintenance Manager, said.

That means they're clearing gutters and storm drains and responding to whatever flooding-related issues arise.

"This time of year when the rains are coming through, flooding is a concern. So it's really important people do their part by keeping their gutter clean," Russell said.

So what do you do if you have a huge pile of leaves in your front yard?

It may be your first reaction to sweep them into a pile in the road.

But city officials say that's actually the wrong thing to do.

"It creates a big pile of leaves and it ends up getting washed down into the storm drain. We have a very good sweeping effort here in Fresno, but we're not able to cover the city on enough frequency to where we're able to handle all the piles that would come out from that," Russell said.

11 sweepers take to Fresno's streets during the day, and about six at night.

And when the storms come, the sweepers are equipped with leaf pushers to handle the extra work.

Still, city officials rely on people like Rudy Diaz to help get the job done right.

Fresno City officials say nearly every neighborhood street is swept once a month, while the main streets are swept weekly.

If you have any questions about the street sweeping, you're asked to call 621-CITY.