Broken levee floods Tulare County community, forcing evacuations

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About 90 homes near the Kings River Golf and Country Club had to be evacuated overnight after flooding from the Kings River broke through sandbags. (KFSN)

A broken levee along the Kings River is forcing dozens of families out of their homes in Tulare County, and mandatory evacuations are in place as snow melt continues to flow into local reservoirs.

In a matter of fifteen minutes, neighbors say the golf course in Kingsburg turned into a dock Friday night after a levee broke and sent water rushing onto the greens.

Drone video shows just how badly flooded it is from the sky, but back on the ground, many people are trying to stop it from getting worse.

They're putting out sandbags to protect their property from additional damage, and T.C. Mosier is one of them. His home is among 90 others along the Kings River Golf Course under a mandatory evacuation along with about 300 people.

"We don't have no electricity and so no refrigeration and no air condition, maybe no water," he said.

At the end of a long work day, David Stone took Action News around on his boat to look at the trail of damage left behind from a levee break in Kingsburg.

"We're in four feet of water here," he said. "Right down the 18th fairway."
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In a matter of fifteen minutes, neighbors say the golf course in Kingsburg turned into a dock Friday night after a levee broke and sent water rushing onto the greens.


The overnight breach sent snow melt from Pine Flat Dam rushing onto his golf and country club. Worried about it getting worse, Stone spent hours transporting sandbags filled by inmates to Tulare County firefighters so that they could build a barrier to stop the overflow from coming in.

"If we hadn't brought the boats out, we wouldn't have been able to plug this hole," Stone explained.

While that took place, the Tulare County Sheriff's Office went around issuing mandatory evacuations along the Kings River.

"It is still a danger to be near the area," Sgt. Merced Zamora with the Tulare County Sheriff's Office said. "With Sheriff Mike Bordeaux, he is very concerned about the safety and property of those affected."

But Dorothy Ratzlaff says she is going to stay even though her electricity is off. The 87-year-old woman has faith that everything will turn out just fine.
"I'm a two-time cancer survivor," she said. "I'm going to survive this on God's nature."

The flow of the water from Pine Flat Dam has gone down slightly since Friday. It's now at 14,200 cubic feet per second.

Tulare County Fire has a number of inmates out here as well helping to fill sandbags for many of the residents, and they say they will be out here all day and night to monitor the conditions.

There is also an evacuation center open at Reedley High School for those impacted.

Related Topics:
tulare countyfloodingKings RiverTulare County
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