Incoming atmospheric river raises concerns over possible flooding in Valley

Brittany Jacob Image
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Atmospheric river raising concerns over heavy rainfall, rapid snowmelt in Valley
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An atmospheric river will dump rain all across Central California at the end of week, causing major concerns for flooding.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- An atmospheric river will dump rain all across Central California at the end of the week, causing major concerns about flooding.

While Monday was a sunny and bright day, weather experts say there's a major cause for concern on the horizon.

Action News Meteorologist Madeline Evans is forecasting an atmospheric river Thursday night through Saturday.

"An atmospheric river is basically like an actual river if you kind of picture that in the Pacific Ocean," Evans explained. She pointed to the green on the radar, and said, "That's all of that moisture so you see that river that is streams right into California... and it just brings in a stream of just straight moisture. And just kind sits over us."

RELATED: Two mobile homes collapse under snow in Madera County, crews preparing for another storm

The heavy rain could lead to rapid snow melt for the mountain communities and the foothills.

As water levels rise in creeks, rivers, and streams -- a major flooding threat looms.

"That rain is going to come down so quickly, I mean, we could see roads washed out, we could be seen mudslides, rockslides from all of this, especially towards those burn scars," Evans said.

Within the Fresno and Clovis areas, there are over 150 ponding basins around town to help control flooding.

The Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control Districts goal is to keep Fresno as dry as possible.

They are making sure they have adequate storm water storage capacity in the basins.

Jarrod Takemoto is an Operations Engineer for FMFCD.

"The basins are at a level where we feel comfortable but we are actively pumping some basins to get additional storage capacity to make sure we are prepared and ready for this impending storm event," he said.

Parts of Merced County were hard hit in January after Bear Creek overflowed. The river is expected to rise later this week.

Merced County is continuing its efforts to clear storm drains and maintain local waterways.

Back in Fresno, Public Works Director Scott Mozier said there are doing their standard flood prep to get ready for the storm.

"We quickly need to mobilize into dealing with emergency response, things like clearing drains - addressing downed limbs and downed trees," Mozier said.

Officials are continuing to urge residents to prepare and be mindful of current and upcoming weather conditions.

Residents should stay clear of waterways and walking paths.

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