Valley foothill communities brace for potential flooding as nearby dam reaches spill levels

Local News

Residents in the foothill communities are still on alert after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. issued a warning of possible flooding on Wednesday due to the dam overflow caused by the recent winter storms.

PG&E says they continue to monitor the situation at Bass Lake, where they say lake levels have reached the elevation of the spillway. 

If near the dam, a roaring sound of water gushing from the lake’s Crane Valley Dam could be heard.

And that’s a concern for many who live in North Fork near the water.

“(Deputies) came knocking on people’s doors and that’s about it,” says Morgan Reid, a North Fork resident, about the warnings the community has gotten about the potential flooding.

Throughout the last 48 hours, the foothill communities received five inches of rain. A reason why PG&E issued a warning of possible flooding earlier this week as officials say as the nearby dam reached spill levels.

But then Friday night, that rain turned into snow.

Reid says, “Ah we’re just pretty much waiting I guess.” Waiting because as soon as the next storm hits, the snowpack will melt, sending it downstream.

With water levels rising, there’s been no time for the area to recover. Saturday makes the fourth storm in two weeks for the community.

PG&E says it’s not unusual for their reservoirs to spill during the wettest parts of normal winters, because they have less storage and are located at much higher elevations.

Their reservoirs are designed to capture rain and snowmelt runoff in winter, spring and early summer to generate clean, renewable hydroelectric power, the utility company explains.

A reason some residents say they are thankful for the showers.

“It’s good in the long run because we’re in a drought still, so we need the rain no matter what,” says Greg Sanchez, a North Fork resident.

Local meteorologists say it’s expected to snow until Sunday night.

Then Monday and Tuesday, the community should get the much needed break before the next storm hits Wednesday evening.

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