Local

Heavy rains bring new flooding hazards to Tulare Co

Monday, January 03, 2011

The rain has stopped for now, but people in the south valley are dealing with new flooding hazards.

In Visalia, city officials are keeping sand available to residents to prepare for future flooding. Across the county people continue to deal with new road closures from rain that came through the south part of the county Sunday night.

One family living near Strathmore used a pump in their front yard to keep water levels from getting dangerously close to their home. Marsha Knight and her parents have been standing guard outside all day after water came splashing up against their trailer this morning. "I got up probably 5 o' clock this morning and I saw it was coming up behind here. And probably 7, 7:30 it was way up in here. Backed up around the house so that's when we started pumping it out."

Tulare County Firefighters placed 300 sand bags along Knight's trailer home and front yard fence. Her three horses remained in their stalls after the rain flooded their yard. Later in the afternoon, Tulare County crews brought in a large industrial pump, to try to bring the water level down.

For now, Knight's worst fears are over.

Dozens of intersections and roads were shut down in South Tulare County after melted snowpack poured into Frasier Creek, sending heavy water across busy roads and getting dangerously close to several homes.

Roughly 15 firefighters are tackling the situation. Crews even dug up Avenue 194 to help alleviate major flooding that closed Orange Belt Drive near Strathmore.

"Right now we're treating it as an emergency with preventative measures around the structures and we're dong the best we can," said Battalion Chief Jeff McLaughlin with the Tulare County Fire Dept.

"Have you ever seen it this bad?"

Marsha: "No, it wasn't this bad the last time we had the flood here so this was about the worst."

Tulare County Firefighters say roads near Strathmore will probably be closed for at least another day. Monday night and Tuesday crews will continue to monitor drainage systems and check a number of different trouble spots.

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Tags:
visalia, strathmore, tulare county, local, jessica peres
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