Storm puts Fresno's flood control system to the test

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Last night's storm nearly overwhelmed the areas ponding basins, but the system designed to prevent flooding, held up pretty well. (KFSN)

At the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District, the goal is to keep Fresno as dry as possible. Thursday's storm put the system's capacity to the test.

Alan Hofman is the General Manager of the District. He says the system is designed to handle about 3 1/3" of rain and over the last two days they've seen about 3" of rain rush in.

Most of the ponding basins throughout the city are connected, either to each other or irrigation canals. That means the water that flows in from the storm drain system doesn't usually back up into the streets, but Hoffman acknowledges the system was briefly overwhelmed, stranding some cars and frustrating motorists.

"Most of the time, if they just wait it out, the water is going to go away. It's all gravity and it will eventually disappear as long as the basins don't fill up."

The basins did not overflow, and today, the water levels were dropping quickly as the water percolated into the ground, helping to recharge the underground aquifer.

In Clovis, the Dry Creek Dam, along Shepherd Avenue absorbed the runoff from the foothills and prevented the situation from getting worse.

Some of the ponding basins drain more quickly than others, it all depends on the soil the water must go through.

The flood control system is built to anticipate a two-day storm, so the hope is always that the ponding basins will drain enough to catch water from the next storm.
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