Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A semi-trailer driver with Ames Construction of Burnsville was crushed to death in Minnetonka, MN when a large steel pipe rolled off a semitrailer after he unstrapped the load

MINNETONKA, Minn. -- A construction worker was killed Monday afternoon in Minnetonka when a large steel pipe rolled off a semitrailer, crushing the Missouri man.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the workman was helping to unload the pipes from the trailer when a pipe came lose shortly after 2:30 p.m.

The workman was pronounced dead at the scene, the southbound U.S. 169 ramp to Londonderry Road.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is working in the area to replace the Nine Mile Creek Bridge between Bren Road and Seventh Street.

The State Patrol identified the victim as David Earl Hyde, 38, of Fulton, Mo. KARE-TV reported that Hyde was the semi’s driver and that the pipe rolled off the trailer after he unstrapped the load.

Ames Construction of Burnsville is the contractor on the U.S. 169 project.

The fatality is under investigation by state workplace safety officials.

Ames Construction said the pipe that fell on the worker weighed 2,500 to 2,600 pounds.

Pipe falls off truck, kills worker along Highway 169

Highway 169 between Bren Road and 7th Street is closed for a 10-month project to replace the Nine Mile Creek bridge. MNDOT started the construction during the winter because it is easier to take out the bridge when the swamp is frozen.

During construction, Highway 169 will be reduced to only one lane southbound from Excelsior Boulevard to 7th Street and northbound from Highway 62 to Bren Road. The entrance ramp from westbound Interstate 394 to southbound Highway 169 will also be closed until October.

Unfinished mulch at C.S. Carey in Kansas City, Kansas caught fire at some point overnight, triggering a large, smoldering fire that has been difficult to put out.


Investigators are working to determine if spontaneous combustion started a massive fire in a huge pile of unfinished mulch at a Kansas City, Kansas mulch manufacturer early Monday morning.

The unfinished mulch at C.S. Carey near 65th Street and Kansas Avenue caught fire at some point overnight, triggering a large, smoldering fire that has been difficult to put out.

Fire crews are using a large ladder and hose to try to douse the flames. Large plumes of smoke continue to rise from the fire.

Workers on scene said the mulch can spontaneously combust if it gets a little wet. The moisture apparently starts a chemical reaction that can cause it to catch fire.

There is no threat to any buildings or people at this point.



Emergency crews battled a large fire for nearly five hours after a pile of mulch spontaneously combust early Monday morning.

The fire started about 2:45 a.m. at C. S. Carey, a land clearing, tree grinding and wholesale mulch business near 65th Street and Kansas Avenue.

Flames lit up the side of Kansas Avenue avenue at 65th Street for most of the morning as firefighters worked to contain the fire.

An employee of the business says the fire is mostly contained. He says no employees were hurt and no equipment was damaged.

The employee believes the fire was started by spontaneous combustion. This can happen when cold air enters a mulch pile and begins to warm. The pile holds more moisture than the air. Cold air can transfer large amounts of heat-laden water vapor inside mulch and compost piles, sparking a flame. Fire investigators have not confirmed the belief.

"It occurs overtime as the mulch is stockpiled, it usually takes 2 to 3 months before mulch can get to a point where it's going to get hot enough to catch on fire," The employee said.

Matt Stueck, the Vice President of Suburban Lawn and Garden says mulch has to get between 170 and 200 degrees to combust.

"You can feel that, feel how warm that is, that's hot. That's 120 degrees and that's very typical of what mulch can get like inside the pile," Stueck said.

He says when mulch piles reach higher than 25 feet tall, their internal temperatures can rise quickly, and at this point in the year, many businesses have more mulch than normal.

"This is busiest time of the year for all mulch producers because its the beginning of the mulch season for jobs," Stueck said.

And for homeowners wanting to buy mulch, he says this is not something to worry about.

"A mulch fire is scary for someone making mulch, but its not at all a threat for someone who has mulch at their home," Stueck said.

Stueck says the benefits of mulch outweigh any risks. he says just break up your old mulch before laying down a new layer in the Spring.

Authorities closed Kansas Avenue from 62nd Street to 65th Street while they battled the blaze. The street has reopened.

Fire officials say no homes were affected by the fire.


A Perfect Storm: Mulch Fire Dynamics and Prevention


A Perfect Storm: Mulch Fire Dynamics and Prevention
By Erika Jensen

An unusually large number of fires, occurring at commercial mulch and compost facilities over the past few years, have caused concern for the organics industry, as well as the communities affected by these fires.

About 75% of the reported fires to date were the result of spontaneous combustion. To better understand these events, we will first look at the biology and chemistry that leads to spontaneous combustion fires. Although much of this information is common knowledge within the industry, we’ll use an understanding of the causes to frame a discussion on how to prevent such fires and avoid backlash from local residents and government officials.
Composting Dynamics and Risk Factors

Spontaneous combustion fires begin with pile heating caused by microbial activity. Heat is produced as microbes decompose the organic materials, made possible by the presence of moisture. When the pile size is too large, the pile cannot lose heat as fast as it is generated, and the temperature rises. If the decomposition continues under the right conditions, the pile can continue to heat to a dangerous level.

At around 180° F, microbial activity shuts down and direct chemical reactions (abiotic) processes take over. Pyrolysis is one such process, and can be defined as the decomposition of organic materials through the action of heat, which occurs in the absence of oxygen. The gasses and compounds that result from the process of pyrolysis are highly combustible, and when oxygen is introduced they can burst into flames. Smoldering can also occur in the absence of oxygen.

“During pyrolysis, the traditional “fire triangle” that we’ve all been taught about is changed somewhat. Usually we think about the fire triangle involving fuel, oxygen, and heat. But when pyrolysis comes into play, a smoldering fire can occur without oxygen,” said Robert Rynk, of the State University of New York at Cobleskill (SUNY Cobleskill).

Risk factors for spontaneous combustion fires include piles that are over 20 feet tall, piles that are moderately dry, in the range of 20 to 40 percent moisture (or dry with some wet spots), and static piles that may sit for a month or more without being turned. These values are general estimates and vary based on weather conditions and pile composition. For example, oils and resins in the feedstock materials may also play a role, as some materials are more prone to combustion because they have a lower combustion temperature. However, this is a minor consideration compared to the other risk factors of pile size, moisture level, and stasis (no turning, no movement).

Methods of Prevention 

Fortunately, the prevention of mulch fires is simpler than understanding exactly how they occur. Best management practices, such as careful monitoring of temperature and moisture; noticing and correlating weather events; restricting pile size; maintaining moisture levels; and turning piles to release heat are critical to the prevention of combustion fires in organic material piles. According to John Ferguson of Nature’s Way Resources, careful monitoring of pile temperatures is part of his daily work, using a soil (temperature) probe to check for hot spots (A). “My workers monitor the temperature of the mulch piles at least twice a week, and log-in the information weekly. 

If it looks like we’ve got excessive heat building up, we flood the mulch pile first, then turn it or spread it out to release the heat,” Ferguson said. Checking for signs of a smoldering pile is also part of the monitoring. He added, that keeping the pile at a consistent moisture level of 40-60 percent is important for fire prevention, and also happens to be about the right moisture level for composting. Water works as a “governor” and has an important role in moderating temperature and heat exchange within a mulch pile. “You don’t get fires if you keep the mulch at around 50 percent moisture,” said Ferguson. 

Pile Size Restricting pile size is an important part of fire prevention. Some facility owners, like John Ferguson, compost their mulch before offering it for sale. During this process, small piles will lose heat too fast for composting to initiate. When composting mulch, the ideal pile height is in the range of 3-10 feet tall. 

According to Jean Bonhotal, Director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute, piles over 10-12 feet in height are not recommended, due to the risk of overheating and spontaneous combustion. Piles should be long and narrow, no more than 12-15 feet wide. Piles that are over 20 feet tall have a tendency to overheat and sometimes spontaneously combust. In addition to smaller pile size, it’s prudent to allow sufficient space between the piles for access. John Ferguson allows 8-10 feet between his piles, which is enough space for equipment to access the area, including fire trucks if needed. 

Larger mulch piles, in particular, benefit from turning because it lowers the pile temperature and prevents overheating. “Big piles are fine, as long as they don’t sit idle for a long time. There are a lot of factors that contribute to spontaneous combustion fires, but time is an important one. If you wait long enough, you’ll probably have a fire. One month seems to be a typical period for fires to show themselves in large static piles,” said Bob Rynk. 


Water is a key component in both mulch and compost production, and it works in a number of different ways. Moisture contributes to pile heating by stimulating microbial activity. However, it can also absorb large amounts of heat, as well as cool the pile through evaporation. In this way it acts as a “governor”. Providing enough water is a big job. John Ferguson uses a retention pond to supply water to his mulch piles, and the pond also serves as a water source for emergencies. 

Additionally, he accepts liquid byproducts from various businesses, such as cheese plants. He does this by offering businesses a lower rate for disposal of their liquid waste, which is then sprayed directly onto his mulch piles. Mark Mills, of Ace Supply/Precision Sharpening, uses a water wagon with a 2,500 gallon tank to pump water onto his mulch piles. He also sprays the mulch with water as he is stacking the material. He makes an effort to reclaim the water after it drains out of the piles by capturing it in a pit and then pumping it back onto the piles. He does not turn the piles, instead relying on water to keep the piles from getting too hot. 

While it is important to maintain about 50% moisture content within a pile, Ferguson warns that a combination (very wet/very dry) pile can also be a fire hazard. “When we had mulch fires, every time it was connected with a particular weather event. Here in the Houston area it’s not uncommon to get 3-6 inches of rain from a storm. The mulch materials that were soaked with rainwater swell and seal off the top of the pile. 

Then if we get dry, gusty winds, one end of the pile can dry out while the other side stays wet, the wind gusts increase the air pressure inside the pile. From chemistry and physics, we know that as the pressure increases so does the internal temperature, which can then provide the impetus to initiate the chemical processes that lead to spontaneous combustion.” 

Air Flow

Oxygen is a strong driver of microbial activity. However, trying to eliminate the air in a pile by compacting it with machinery is not a means of prevention. “Driving on piles is not a good idea,” said Mark Mills. “It really doesn’t help anything. It makes things worse.”

This is due to a number of different factors. For example, compacted piles are denser and have a greater tendency to overheat, because the large mass retains heat and reduces vertical airflows. Also, not all of the processes that lead to spontaneous combustion, such as pyrolysis, are dependent on oxygen.

In a survey conducted by Robert Rynk of SUNY Cobleskill and Richard Buggeln, University of Tennesee, 70% of the facilities experiencing spontaneous combustion report that they intentionally compact the piles by driving over them with a wheel loader or bulldozer.
Fighting Fires

David Banwarth is a fire protection engineer, whose interest in mulch fires is primarily connected to community-wide planning for fire safety. Banwarth encourages commercial mulch facilities to do their planning ahead of time, because mulch fires are very common. Pre-planning with the fire department is essential.

There are a number of different strategies to effectively manage fires before they get out of control. A combination of applying water to the pile surface, along with opening up the pile, is one effective option for putting out the fire. In the Rynk and Buggeln survey, respondents endorsed fighting a spontaneous combustion fire with the assistance of a wheel loader, excavator, or bulldozer, in addition to a fire hose.

According to John Ferguson, it’s important to wet the surface material before you open up the pile, since the introduction of fresh oxygen can cause the fire to flare up and spread along the surface. Additionally, Ferguson keeps large amounts of soil and dirt and other materials that could be applied to smother a fire.

Robert Rynk makes the point that smart use of water resources is the best way to get the fire under control.

“Large amounts of water are ineffective and unnecessary to fight a mulch or compost fire. Whatever water that is applied should be applied selectively and in concentrated locations. Fire departments tend to make the mistake of automatically turning on the hoses and flooding the piles with water. It is their instinct to do so. This approach is not only a waste of water, but also does nothing to extinguish the fire. Liberally spraying water does help to keep the fire from spreading to adjacent piles, equipment and buildings. However, it should be applied strategically and not to soak the piles, especially those on fire. Fire suppressing chemicals such as foam can be effective,” said Rynk.
Crisis Communications

In addition to putting out the actual physical fire, mulch producers may have to contend with an emotional firestorm of community-wide panic over a fire incident. Search the internet for “mulch fires” and you invariably come up with images of huge fires, with flames shooting high into the air. Which is why such fires always make the headlines. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to interview a mulch facility owner while a fire is in progress, which means they don’t necessarily get a fair representation in the media.

Preplanning for crisis communications is essential. Who needs to know about the fire? Key contacts could include your employees, homeowners in the immediate area, media contacts, fire/police departments, and of course your customers. Press releases to the media can be largely written ahead of time and revised as necessary during the event. Social media is a powerful tool that you can use to tell your story directly to the public. You might consider posting your own photos on a Facebook page, along with essential information about the crisis as it unfolds. If you don’t have a Facebook page, consider ahead of time, how fast you can get information onto to the home page of your company website.
Community-wide Impact

As a fire protection engineer, David Banwarth’s focus is to look at the impact on the community. In addition to careful prevention efforts, facilities should plan for an adequate and reliable water supply.

“Ideally, this should be a public water supply or a large supply of stored water, though the costs associated with this may be prohibitive,” said Banwarth.

According to Banwarth, mulch facilities are best located in an industrial park setting, where there is access to a public water supply; road access for emergency vehicles; and limited exposure to homes and schools. In an industrial park setting, a typical mulch fire may be extinguished within hours; in a rural setting it may take several days and many more resources, in terms of personnel and emergency response vehicles. The longer time associated with a non-industrial setting is due to several factors: longer response times due to distances to rural areas; typically more difficult access; lengthy delays in establishing an adequate and continuous water supply; and advanced fire growth prior to extinguishment activities.

Banwarth points out that mulch fires can have a huge impact on the community at large:

“More developed and challenging mulch fires can severely strain or consume the fire and medical response resources of a community. The same firefighters, emergency medical responders and apparatus that would be available for other emergencies may be putting out a mulch fire. Engine companies or medic units may have to respond from more distant locations to handle regular calls for service. The adverse impact on community emergency services can be greatly reduced by locating commercial mulch manufacturing facilities in locations that best provide an ability to quickly respond and extinguish incipient fires."

In conclusion, understanding the chemical processes by which mulch piles ignite, brings a more informed understanding of how to effectively prevent fires. By thinking through a strategy for putting out fires, as well as managing communications during an emergency, mulch and compost producers can be prepared for the likely scenario of a fire at some point.


 Update as of 2/20/17 at 1630
Turlock Irrigation District opened one of three Controlled Spillway Gates at Don Pedro Reservoir today at 3 p.m. This was a result of the size and magnitude of the current storm, which forecasted Don Pedro Reservoir to exceed its maximum capacity of 830 feet.
The Controlled Spillway Gate is operating as designed and onsite technical experts continue to monitor operations. The Dam and spillway structures undergo regular inspections and testing and the structural integrity of the project remains sound.
Landowners, growers and those living along the Tuolumne River, out of an abundance of caution, should undertake necessary steps to protect their property and livestock as Tuolumne River levels will rise quickly.
The initial water releases to the Tuolumne River are expected to be approximately 18,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) which equates to about 60 feet as measured at the 9th Street Bridge at Modesto. However, the releases could increase due to the amount of inflow entering the reservoir.
It takes approximately 23 hours for the releases from Don Pedro to reach the 9th Street Bridge at Modesto. Please note that those in closer proximity to Don Pedro Reservoir will see increased flows earlier. These releases will continue for a minimum of four days.
TID will provide frequent updates through the duration of the event. TID is partnering with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, which is also providing regular updates via their website at www.scsdonline.com/info/press-releases-via-nixle.html.
Scheduled Electrical Outages: In the interest of electrical safety near the River, TID and Modesto Irrigation District began de-energizing power lines along the Tuolumne River channel earlier today. Power will be restored when safe.
Bonds Flat Road Closure: Bonds Flat Road is closed beyond Fleming Meadows and Blue Oaks campgrounds to public access to ensure the safety of the public and spillway operations.
Don Pedro Recreation Agency: The Lake will be closed for boaters during the use of the spillway gates. For more information about lake operations visit www.donpedrolake.com
Register for Emergency Alerts: Those in Stanislaus and Merced counties are encouraged to register for emergency notifications from their respective county; Stanislaus County residents at StanAware.com and Merced County residents at CountyofMerced.com/alert.
Additional Information: TID will continue to provide updates as necessary. Please visit tid.org/flows for more information. You can also view Don Pedro levels and Tuolumne River releases at tid.org/water/hydrological-data. For information about River water level and flows at 9th Street in
Modesto, visit the National Weather Service page at http://www.c6y7y7566y7nrfc.noaa.gov/graphicalRVF.php?id=MDSC1.
Register for Emergency Alerts from your County
o Stanislaus County: StanAware.com
o Merced County: CountyofMerced.com/alert
 General Emergency Information:
o http://www.stanemergency.com/
 How to obtain sandbags:
o In Stanislaus County: http://www.stanemergency.com/naturalDisasters/weather.shtm
o In Merced County: http://www.co.merced.ca.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2680

Established in 1887, Turlock Irrigation District serves reliable and affordable water and power to much of California's Central Valley.


Don Pedro Reservoir

TID is proud to serve the local community by maintaining the Don Pedro Reservoir. The reservoir provides irrigation water storage for local growers, as well as power generation, flood control and recreation for other local citizens.
The First Don Pedro Reservoir
In 1923, Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts joined forces to build the first Don Pedro Dam, which had a storage capacity of 289,000 acre feet. The dam held barely enough water to accommodate growers' irrigation needs for a single growing season.

The New Don Pedro Reservoir
New Don Pedro Dam construction began in 1967 and was completed in 1971 at a cost of $105 million. The reservoir has a capacity of 2,030,000 acre feet, substantially increasing TID's water storage capacity on the Tuolumne River.
Dam statistics:
  • 580 Feet high
  • 855 Feet above sea level at the crest
  • 1900 Feet at crest length
  • 40 Feet wide at crest
  • 2800 Feet wide at its base
TID uses water stored in Don Pedro to irrigate approximately 5,800 farms within our 307 square-mile irrigation service area.
TID has been delivering power to retail customers since 1923. As an operating partner, TID operates the powerhouse at the reservoir, which can generate up to 203 megawatts of electric power from its four generators.
Flood Control
Don Pedro Lake also provides flood protection for the valley below. Don Pedro's immense capacity is able to absorb surges from Sierra storms to protect property, farmland and industry.
With 160 miles of shoreline and nearly 13,000 acres of surface area (at maximum lake level), visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, water sports, swimming and camping. One of the highlights of the year is the annual Fourth of July fireworks show.

For more information, call the Don Pedro Recreation Area at (209) 852-2396 or visit the Don Pedro Lake website.

The Reservoir is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and jointly held by TID and the Modesto Irrigation District (MID). By virtue of their historic sharing agreement based on acreage served within each district, TID's share and interest in the dam amounts to 68.46 percent while the MID's share is 31.54 percent. The current license will expire in 2016. Learn more about the relicensing by visiting the Don Pedro Relicensing website.

The Reservoir is crucial to our water system and TID is taking every step to ensure the relicensing process will be successful. This is a long, arduous and expensive process that will focus, in large part, on instream flow releases and fisheries habitat below Don Pedro Reservoir.

Got Water? Several California Levees and Dams are Breaching or are in Danger of Breaching

The Latest on storms in California (all times local):

11:10 p.m.

Authorities have stopped a leak in a levee in California's Central Valley but about 500 people remain under evacuation orders until the area is deemed safe.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries but a flash flood warning remains in effect.

The levee on the San Joaquin River in San Joaquin County was breached Monday afternoon and repaired about five hours later.

The breach was near the town of Manteca and the evacuation area is mainly farming and ranch land.

Rivers and creeks in the Central Valley and around Northern California have been reaching flood levels as a series of storms continues to pound the region.


9:15 p.m.

About 500 people have been ordered to evacuate in California's Central Valley because of a levee break as the area endures yet another storm.

A dispatcher in San Joaquin County says the levee on the San Joaquin River was breached Monday afternoon.

The breach is near the town of Manteca and the evacuation area is mainly farming and ranch land.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries but a flash flood warning remains in effect while crews try to patch the breach.


8 p.m.

Creeks and rivers are nearing flood stage in California as another rainstorm pounds the area, prompting evacuations and stranding several thousand people in a remote hamlet.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered Monday afternoon for areas of Monterey County as water rose in the Carmel, Salinas, and Big Sur rivers as well as some creeks.

In Lake County, northwest of Sacramento, about two mobile home parks and nearby houses were ordered evacuated because nearby Clear Lake was a foot above flood stage.

County Sheriff Brian Martin says about 100 homes were affected but more homes along the 75-mile lake shoreline could face evacuation orders if the water keeps rising — and more rain is on the way.

Martin also says about 2,000 people in the remote community of Spring Valley are trapped because one of two entrance roads washed away and mudslides closed the other. Authorities hope to use a temporary bridge to reopen it in the next few days.


5:50 p.m.

Monterey County has issued mandatory evacuation orders for people living near creeks and rivers as a continuing downpour creates a threat of floods and mudslides.

TV station KSBW-TV reports (http://bit.ly/2m6cTci) that low-lying areas along the Carmel River were ordered evacuated Monday afternoon. The Sheriff's Office says it's using Humvees to help evacuate the northern county.

Firefighters also have evacuated homes in a Salinas neighborhood after Santa Rita Creek reached its peak.

In rural Royal Oaks, some residents had to be evacuated after a mudslide encroached on a home.


3:50 p.m.

Authorities say a pre-evacuation advisory has been issued for a California community in Madera County after water discharges from Bass Lake were increased and threatened to swell rivers.

The Fresno Bee reported (http://bit.ly/2m5S8NG) that the order was issued Monday for several roads near downtown North Fork, about 10 miles from the lake.

The sheriff's office says residents who live in the area should be ready to leave quickly if conditions worsen.

Downpours swelled creeks, lakes and rivers throughout Northern California, threatening to cause even more flooding in the already soggy region.


2:45 p.m.

Forecasters have issued flash flood warnings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in Northern California.

The National Weather Service says heavy rain could persist into Monday evening and is expected to cause flooding on the Carmel River in Monterey County and Coyote Creek in Santa Clara County.

The weather service has also issued flash flood warnings for the North Bay and Monterey areas as well as south-central Alameda County and southeastern Santa Clara County.

In Alameda County, the weather service reported gauges on Alameda Creek are showing that rapidly rising water levels have surpassed local flood stages in Niles Canyon and a watershed above Sunol Regional Wilderness.

The warnings are in effect until late Monday afternoon.


1:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service has forecast heavy snow in the Lake Tahoe area with a high avalanche danger until Tuesday in an area of the Sierra Nevada from Yuba Pass to Ebbetts Pass.

Forecasters say the winter storm could drop up to 5 feet of snow in areas above 7,500 feet.

Lower elevations could see between 8 and 24 inches of snow.

The NWS is advising motorists to avoid travel in the area through Tuesday.

Moderate to heavy rain along with snow melt below 7,000 feet is expected to swell rivers and streams and increase the chance of flooding.


10:35 a.m.

Forecasters say rainfall in San Francisco has already surpassed the normal annual amount for the wet season that begins in October.

National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said Monday that the city has logged 24.50 inches of rain since Oct. 1.

He says the average rainfall for the year ending Sept. 30 is 23.65 inches.

Downpours swelled creeks and rivers Monday throughout Northern California, threatening to cause even more flooding in the already soggy region.

Close to an inch of rain had fallen in San Francisco. Santa Cruz County had seen 2.8 inches of rain in 24 hours and could see up to 8 inches before the storm passes. Marin County got 2.3 inches of rain.


8:55 a.m.

Heavy downpours are swelling creeks and rivers and bringing threats of flooding in California's already soggy northern and central regions.

The National Weather Service map shows floods, snow and wind advisories for the northern part of the state. The NWS has issued a flash flood warning for the Soberanes burn area in Monterey County.

Rainfall totals for the last 24 hours were close to an inch in San Francisco. Santa Cruz County had logged 2.8 inches but could see up to 8 inches of rain before the storm passes. Marin County saw 2.3 inches of rain. Winds could reach 60 mph in the San Francisco Bay Area.

About 150 miles north of San Francisco, the water level continued to fall at Oroville Dam, where a damaged spillway had raised major flood concerns and prompted an evacuation Feb. 12.


11:20 p.m.

Some Northern California residents are preparing for another powerful Pacific storm by patrolling levees for signs of danger, reviewing evacuation plans and filling hundreds of sand bags.

One resident near Tracy, which is 80 miles east of San Francisco, said that though the levees appear in good shape, they decided take charge after the San Joaquin River started rising.

The area saw rain and wind Sunday afternoon but forecasters said a storm packing a bigger punch will reach the San Francisco Bay Area overnight before moving to the Central Valley.

The San Joaquin River at a measuring station near Vernalis — about 10 miles southeast of Tracy — remained Sunday at "danger stage," meaning it keeps approaching the top of levees, said Tim Daly, a spokesman with San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services.