WOODLAKE, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – People in Woodlake are still unable to return home after heavy flooding extensively damaged several of them.
The water has receded for now, but they are preparing yet again for more potential flooding.
“It’s been, it’s been life-changing,” said Maria Sanchez.
She’s lived in her home in Woodlake for seven years now. They have never seen anything like what they saw back on March 10th, when their home flooded.
“By the time I opened my door, it was already coming into my doorway, and I was like “oh my god,” Sanchez said.
Her family packed up what they could in the middle of the night, and got out.
“We were not prepared, we do not have flood insurance, and we already got our denial letter. When we bought this house, it wasn’t in a flood zone, so we didn’t think we’d need it,” she said.
“This was an unprecedented event. The combination of rain and snow melt coming down Antelope Creek,” Mayor Rudy Mendoza said.
The City of Woodlake was also taken by surprise. Mayor Rudy Mendoza addressed where all the water that flooded the northern part of the town came from. The problem could be from upstream.
“We will continue to work with our partners at the county of Tulare and possibly state agencies to try and figure out what can be done with regards to water further notice, which is out of the city of Woodlake,” Mendoza said. “It’s out of the jurisdiction.”
There are barricades to try and divert any overflow back into the creek. 15 pumps are being used citywide.
“Using plastic for the next time that it happens. I know it’s material things but it still, it still hurts,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez and her neighbors are also preparing, again, in case the water from these storms proves to be too much.
“Once it’s time to come back home, I just can’t imagine,” she said.
According to the CAL FIRE Tulare Unit, seven homes have been destroyed in the county, and nearly 24,000 are threatened by the rising waters.