Snowmelt-driven River Swelling Forces Evacuation of 90 California Homes

June 27, 2017

Authorities say 90 homes remain under mandatory evacuation orders following levee breaches along a river in California, the result of the state’s huge springtime snowpack melting in the summer heat.

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office posted aerial photos showing several submerged houses at the Kings River Golf and Country Club. Deputies went door to door asking residents to leave after a 15-foot-wide breach opened along the river Friday.

A total of 300 people had to evacuate, and floodwaters have damaged seven structures and 18 RVs in the area east of Kingsburg, the Fresno Bee reported. Crews are bringing in sandbags to fill the breaches.

The Kings River began to flood Wednesday about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Fresno as temperatures soared, melting snow in the Sierra Nevada and sending it downstream.

“It was like a war zone out here,” country club resident Doreen Dalbey told the Bee. “At one point it (the water) got scary high. I thought the whole house would flood. We thought the water was going a different direction but it started making its way to us. I knew when I saw the water filling up a sand trap and how fast it filled up that we were in trouble and we need to run.”

In May, state water managers said California’s springtime snowpack was nearly double its normal levels following five years of historic drought, including two of the driest in the state’s recorded history.

Topics California Homeowners

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