FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Kings River Water Association (KRWA) says predictions for an atmospheric river event Thursday through Saturday, that is likely to unleash tropically-spawned rain atop the Sierra Nevada snowpack, are causing concerns among the KRWA and other agencies.

The main worry is about the foothill streams as there is no way to regulate the high flows entering the Kings River’s valley reaches (a term often used by hydrologists when they’re referring to a small section of a stream or river rather than its entire length, according to the USGS.)

Fairly small flood releases were started by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last month from Pine Flat Dam in response to earlier repeated major snowfall events.

Those discharges have been increased. At noon Monday, the Corps boosted the flood release from Pine Flat. Another flood release increase was scheduled at midnight on Tuesday, and a third one took place on Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. with the objective of boosting the downstream Kings River flow at Crescent Weir south of Riverdale from 1,500 cubic feet per second to 3,000 cubic feet per second (c.f.s).

Officials say water releases from Pine Flat Dam over the next few days are likely to increase up to about 5,200 cubic feet per second.

Many districts and canal companies are diverting flows for much-needed groundwater recharge. But officials warn that property owners and residents need to monitor nearby river water levels and be alert for any flooding warnings.

“Mill Creek and the other foothill streams that enter the river downstream from Pine Flat Dam are our biggest concern right now,” Haugen said. “There is no way to control or store the flows in those streams.”

Forecasters indicate the greatest amount of rainfall from the coming storm is likely to hit Friday.

KRWA officials and its 28 member irrigation agencies have been working with the Corps of Engineers for the past two months on longer-range plans for handling what was already expected to be a big snowmelt runoff year.

Authorities and emergency officials in Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties are preparing as best they can for emergency situations that may rise.