Homeowners along the Kings River forced to evacuated by rising water cannot return yet, but the river is receding and it’s possible they can go back soon.
Officials Monday were assessing the situation, said Carrie Monteiro, public information officer for the Tulare County Emergency Operations Center.
“We are seeing signs the water is receding,” she said.
Army Corps of Engineers data show 12,700 cubic feet per second of water was being released down the spillway of Pine Flat Dam at 2 p.m. Monday, down from a peak of 14,950 cubic feet per second Friday afternoon.
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Additional cuts to releases were expected later Monday, according to the Kings River Water Association, which tracks river flows because its members use the water for farming.
We are seeing signs the water is receding.
Carrie Monteiro, Tulare County Emergency Operations Center
A nine-day heat wave caused melting snow to surge into Pine Flat Lake, prompting the Army Corps to release more water. That caused flooding in low-lying areas and a few places where levees breached.
Over the weekend, the Army Corps slowed releases so the river started receding, said Randy McFarland, spokesman for the King River Water Association. It takes 12 hours for water to travel from Pine Flat to Highway 99, he said.
Meanwhile, Pine Flat Lake, which holds 1 million acre-feet, is almost full.
Snowmelt flowing into Pine Flat Lake appears to have peaked for the season, and the Army Corps is releasing water, but “the situation has stabilized compared to what it was,” he said.
Still, there will be lot of water in the lower Kings River well into July, he said.
Last week, increases in river flows were followed by breaches of river banks in two places, prompting the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office to order an evacuation of 90 homes near the Kings River Golf and Country Club.
But there have been no reports of homes being flooded. The breaches were being filled with sandbags dropped by helicopters.
Parts of Riverland Resort and RV Park in Tulare County flooded stating June 17, prompting some residents to be asked to leave.
Last Thursday, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office ordered evacuations of some homes in the Riverbend Mobile Home Park in Sanger, and warned some homeowners near the river of possible flooding.
No additional levee breaks or flooding have been reported. The Kings River remains closed to recreation in Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties.