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More rain expected to slam South County today, Sunday
Manteca city crews prepare for heavy rain this weekend by clearing storm drains and fallen trees on Friday. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Rick Beck recalled Thursday the storms that dampened his business about 15 years ago.

Two storms rocked Northern California back then, leaving significant amount of precipitation, in turn, filling reservoirs with more than abundance of water and causing additional stress on the levees.

Most of the damage occurred south of Highway 120 Bypass during that time when 60 square miles between Manteca and Tracy were left under water for months. Some three years later, voters approved over $1 billion for flood protection work in the area.

Meteorologists, meanwhile, are comparing this week’s drenching rains to that of the 1996-97 New Years storm. Rain is expected throughout  today with a major drenching expected to start around 7 p.m. in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and continue until about mid-day Sunday,

“That was a real wet one,” said Beck, who is the owner and operator of Beck’s Specialty Christmas Tree lot on Union Road near Louise Avenue in Manteca. He’s been at that same location for the past 13 years.

“We enjoy coming here,” he added. “We’re welcomed as part of the community.

“We know a lot of people on first-name basis.”

With pouring rains fast approaching, his plan is to take all the already flocked trees indoors and lay the taller ones down sideways. Beck, as usual – he and wife Julie hail from Winchester Bay, Oregon , but make Manteca their home come this time of year – has been open since the day after Thanksgiving.

Rick Beck is also prepared to deal with a soggy Christmas tree lot. He’ll use straw and almond shells to help absorb some of the moisture from the ground.

The wet weather also makes it tough on business in other ways. “We can’t (custom) flock if the tree is wet,” he said.