Visalians can find refuge from rain at dry center

The city of Visalia is opening up the transit center lobby to residents needing shelter from the rain and flooding

VISALIA – As the county continues to see heavy rainfall and flooding, Visalia Transit Center opens its doors for those needing refuge from the downpour.

The city of Visalia is opening the Visalia Transit Center lobby to serve as a dry center for residents, and it will be open from March 9 – March 15.  Located at 425 E. Oak Ave. in downtown Visalia, the dry center will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The city will be providing those in the dry center with ample seating, vending machines and restroom access.

“We are preparing for the weather expected this weekend and through part of next week,” Transit manager Angelina DeRossett said in a statement. “We know many of our neighbors need temporary protection from the elements, so we are pleased to open our doors at the Transit Center and serve as a safe place through the storm.”

Visalia’s communications specialist Kiley Arce said that given the size of an upcoming storm, it is likely that there will be localized flooding throughout the city.

“Older areas of town typically see issues due to their storm drain lines and inlets being smaller. However, our streets are built for the rain and operate as a funnel to utilize storm runoff,” Arce said.

Arce said it is normal to see flooding 60 to 90 minutes after rain has stopped, but if flooding is still present after that time citizens can call the city’s non-emergency line at (559) 734-8117. Though cities are not required to set up dry centers, Visalia continues to do so in order to protect residents of all walks of life from the elements, according to Arce. This is the third time the city has set up a dry center.

The transit center will continue their normal operations during this time. Those needing temporary shelter from the rain and flooding will utilize the lobby space, however, bulk belongings must be left outside of the facility and only service animals are allowed inside the facility at all times.

For those needing overnight accommodations, the Visalia Warming Center has also extended their availability and will offer their services overnight from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. through March 18. The warming center is located at 701 E. Race Ave. For more information on the overnight warming center, contact the center directly at 559-509-2140 or [email protected]. Updates are also available via their Facebook page.

In addition to the protection offered in the dry and warming centers, the city will also have a self-serve sand station available through March 15 at the Visalia Corporation Yard.

“We encourage Visalia residents to utilize the self-serve sand station to aid in deflecting water and help protect your structures, especially during flooding like we are expected to receive,” Public works director Nick Bartsch said in a statement. “We advise members of the community to be prepared and safe through the storm by utilizing these city services.”

Visalia residents can utilize the 24-hour self-serve sand station on Cain Street, between Goshen and Main Street. Although residents must bring their own shovel, bags and sand will be provided free of charge to Visalia residents – limited to eight bags per household. During business hours, residents may visit the public works office between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Friday, to pick up bags.

Over the weekend and after-hours, a limited number of bags will be available at the sand station to aid in deflecting water and helping protect structures during the storm. For questions regarding the sand station, contact the City of Visalia Public Works Customer Service line at (559) 713-4428.

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