Flood control flows put more water in San Joaquin River

FRESNO, Calif.

The extra water is flooding Lost Lake Park, and spreading out wide and fast along the Fresno-Madera County line.

Michael Jackson of the Bureau of Reclamation, the government agency that controls the water, says the releases are a precaution and not cause for alarm. "I'd say caution at this point, again, there's always concern when we are making flood control releases."

Water users like Gary Serrato of the Fresno Irrigation District, are keeping a close watch on the rising water. "We're making room for that snowmelt to come down but if it warms up too fast too quickly, then we could have a problem."

The usually dry land behind the old Dry Creek Dam North of Clovis is becoming a lake. The road is flooded and Dry Creek is out of its banks in some spots, and flowing fast into the San Joaquin River.

The Madera County Sheriff's Office is setting up a telephone warning system to alert residents of the Wildwood Mobile Home Park of possible flooding. Jackson says a flow of 11 thousand feet per second puts the park in danger. But at this point the Bureau is not expecting a significant flood problem in the Valley.

"There's a lot of snow up there but it just doesn't melt overnight," said Jackson. "If we had a number of consecutive days at 80 plus temperature, say three weeks of that I would expect to see runoff in a big way."

The flows into the Kings River out of Pine Flat Dam have also been increased to make room in the reservoir for all of the expected runoff from the melting winter snow pack.

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