Rising Kings River water frustrates everyone

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif.

In Fresno County, the Kings River is closed below Pine Flat Dam all the way to the Kings County line.

Tracy Barkis of Reedley points to the spot at Lindy's Landing, where she was supposed to host her boyfriend's daughter's wedding on July 23rd. The caterer is booked and 150 invitations have already been sent out. But, those plans have all been washed away, by the rising Kings River.

Tracy Barkis said, "A big inconvenience. The bride is stressed out. She had to find a different place to have the wedding."

Employees say they've watched the water go up and down. But, over the past 24 hours, it's risen significantly. Thursday, picnic tables were visible. But, Friday, they're half-way underwater.

Vito Chimienti said, "Yeah, it went up about two feet overnight."

Chimienti and his family own the mobile home resort. Since the initial closure, they've lost tens of thousands of dollars in revenue, including $30 thousand over the Fourth of July weekend.

"Yeah, and that's just an estimate," said Chimienti. "We probably lost more."

Kelly's Beach in Reedley isn't doing any better. Although their restaurant and bar remain open, everything else is underwater. Nearby Cricket Hollow Park is also closed.

Sgt. Shawn Erwin said, "Millerton Lake is at 100 percent capacity, so that water has to come out. Pine flat is at 98 percent capacity."

Sergeant Shawn Erwin says water from Pine Flat Dam is flowing at more than 13,000 cubic feet per second, compared to just over 12,000 nearly five weeks ago. And at this point, no one knows when the water will recede.

"The flows are unprecedented, they're very swift," said Sgt. Erwin. "They're still cold and we want to advice folks to stay out of them."

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