Evacuations ordered as Porterville lake fills beyond capacity, water is released
UPDATE: The Tulare County Sheriff's Office issued an evacuation order at 6 p.m. Wednesday for an area west of Porterville over rising flood waters. The evacuation is from Olive Avenue, also known as Avenue 152, south to Avenue 144 and from Westwood Avenue west to the Friant-Kern Canal.
Read the transcript for the original report below.
ELIZABETH ARAKELIAN, HOST: Late Tuesday night, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office ordered around 100 residences downstream of Schafer Dam to evacuate. As KVPR’s Kerry Klein reports, flood releases that are threatening homes are making room for more rainfall.
KERRY KLEIN: In the span of less than a week, water storage in Lake Success more than doubled. As of Wednesday morning it was 15% over capacity, which triggered flood releases from Schafer Dam from both the spillway and a large pipe known as outlet works. The dam is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and spokesperson Tyler Stalker says flow rates likely peaked on Wednesday morning.
TYLER STALKER: that should start to slow down over the coming days with reduced spillway flow and then ideally we’ll be able to reduce the outlet works as well.
KLEIN: But those releases won’t stop just yet. The agency needs to make room for more rain next week.
STALKER: The big variable will be what comes next, and how quickly it comes, and will we have an opportunity to really get the reservoir back down to below capacity.
KLEIN: Stalker also says an ongoing construction project to increase reservoir capacity at Lake Success has not interfered with the structural integrity of the dam. Earlier in the week, the sheriff’s office reminded residents: the dam is operating as expected, and don’t panic.
For KVPR News, I'm Kerry Klein.