Days after the last major storm passed, rising waters continue to prompt evacuation orders and flood warnings across central California, with even more rain in the forecast for early next week.
In Porterville, residents of two areas along the swollen Tule River have been ordered to evacuate, and the stretch of river between them that spans about 5 miles is under an evacuation warning.
The overflow from nearby Success Lake upstream has already inundated dozens of homes in the area. Melting snow from the mountains is fueling frigid flooding, which on Wednesday was waist-deep in some homes near a breach in the Tule River.
“Right now, the dam is in good working order, there is no threat to the dam structure, but we do have a significant amount of water coming out of the spillway,” said Carrie Monteiro, a spokeswoman for the County Emergency Operations Center. Tulare, on Wednesday over Schafer. Dam on Success Lake.
The city of Porterville declared a state of emergency as crews from the Army Corps of Engineers worked to shore up the dam, using a helicopter to drop sandbags.
On Friday morning, the National Weather Service issued a flood alert for the San Joaquin River west of Modesto near Vernalis.
“Turn around, don’t drown when you encounter flooded roads,” the warning read. “Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.”
Visalia is under a state of emergency through Monday due to the possibility of flooding from a nearly full Lake Kaweah.
The lake lies between Three Rivers and Woodlake, where significant flooding has already occurred. Some residents in the area question whether new housing developments that have replaced orchards and the creek bed are to blame.
A new storm, which would be the 12th atmospheric river to hit the state this rainy season, is forecast to bring precipitation to central and southern California beginning Sunday through Wednesday. Maximum precipitation and snow are expected on Tuesday.
In central California, residents can expect about a half-inch of rain along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, said Jim Bagnall, a meteorologist with the weather service in Hanford. The east side of the valley will see 1 to 2 inches, and the hills will see 2 to 4 inches, he said.
This water, combined with snow falling on the Sierra Nevada, which is already covered, could raise concerns about flooding.
In Southern California, residents should expect a “long spell of steady light to moderate rain” totaling 1 to 3 inches, said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard.
By Wednesday, snow will accumulate at elevations around 3,000 to 4,000 feet, including at Tejon Pass.