CORCORAN, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – If you look out off Sixth Avenue, heading south out of town, you will be stopped by the ever-clear, monstrous, lake-like body of water that has swallowed the road and much of the surrounding farmland and area.
“Some have described it as a biblical moment in time,” said Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson.
And if you saw it yourself, you might think the same thing.
Water has washed over farmland off the Tule River, covered crops, flooded dairies, and filled homes, all from a break in a nearby levee, that has ultimately filled what used to be the Tulare Lake bed.
“We’re gonna have a million acre-feet of water in an area that feeds the world, and that million acre-feet of water isn’t gonna go away anytime soon. It’s gonna take their farmland out of production, you know in all likelihood for a couple of years,” said Sheriff Robinson.
According to the Kings County Farm Bureau, 25% of the county’s jobs are in agriculture.
Now many will be jobless for an extended period of time with crops in extreme jeopardy.
“We’ve got wheat fields in the ground right now, alfalfa fields in the ground right now. We’re not sure if they’re harvestable. We’re gonna see what becomes of tomatoes this year. Cotton’s gonna be affected,” said Dusty Ference, executive director of the Kings County Farm Bureau.
And that’s not even the main concern.
“I think probably more troubling, we don’t know what this is gonna do to our tree nut crops, our permanent crops,” he said.
On top of that, dairy farmers have had to move thousands of cows to higher ground, as continued floods are possible.
The task to access the affected areas has been made that much more difficult, with several roads swallowed up in floodwater.
“If you drive up and you see flooded roadways, it’s a good idea to just turn around. There’s been a lot of rescues that have taken place,” said Sheriff Robinson.
The sheriff added that much of the water that has created the ocean-like shores in the county could even be visible into the summer months.