FRIANT, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Water levels in the San Joaquin River have risen after the Bureau of Reclamation released water from Friant Dam amidst the latest round of storms.
It was a move made to create room in Millerton Lake, as officials expect more rain and a busy snowmelt season soon to come, with nearly double a typical year’s snowpack.
The conditions on the river Monday were treacherous and that created a scary situation for the residents who live along the San Joaquin River. One man and his dog even needed to be rescued after they were trapped on an island. Crews say the man had accessed the island before the water levels started to rise, and that he was able to contact them for help with his cell phone.
That rescue was made more difficult thanks to the increased flow.
“Once you get out into the main channel the water’s moving quick. Our boats are designed to deal with it, even at that when they’re operating out there the increased water level makes it more challenging to operate,” said Jonathan Lopez with the Fresno Fire Department.
At the Wildwood Mobile Home Park, which is typically a comfortable distance away from the San Joaquin River, residents continued to see the water creep toward their homes. For the Dickeys, who moved in only a year ago, to see their entire yard disappear was still a bit of a shock.
“I know it was possible and it has happened but…nope. Didn’t think it was gonna happen right away,” said Joyce Dickey.
According to Michael Jackson with the Bureau of Reclamation’s South-Central California Office, they are not expecting flows to get to a level where homes are threatened.