Thousands of acres of farmland remain underwater in Kings County

The flooded areas of Kings County are expected to stay underwater well into the summer.

Elisa Navarro Image
Friday, March 24, 2023
Town hall being held for Kings County residents amid historic flooding
Kings County residents are invited to a town hall meeting Thursday night to discuss historic flooding following this latest round of stormy weather.

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thousands of acres of farmland remain feet underwater near the small community of Corcoran on Thursday.

Mary Gonzales, a Corcoran native, says the community was unsteady for several days after seeing the amount of water rushing around them.

"Fear and anxiety hit the town. We were just waiting to see when we were going to be flooded," she explained.

She says she has some relief after an emergency meeting on Wednesday night.

"Last night was the first night that we actually had a good night sleep in this community," Gonzales said.

City leaders say they are working on plans to keep the flood waters from rushing into town.

Those plans include reinforcing and raising an already 188 foot high berm that surrounds Corcoran.

Gonzales made sure to spread the word about raising the berm for those who didn't make the meeting.

"I alerted the Latino Round table, I already Kiwanis, family, neighbors, friends, everyone."

Another major concern for officials is the two state prisons in Corcoran.

Corcoran Police Chief Rueben Shortnacy says both of the prisons are also protected by the berm.

However, a plan is being worked on incase the 8,000 inmates within the prison must be evacuated.

"They would have to find room in other prisons. Transportation and segregation of some inmates, and so forth," Shortnacy explained of the challenges an evacuation would bring.

The flooded areas of Kings County are expected to stay underwater well into the summer.

Officials say the floods also raise another concern as snow melts throughout spring.

City Manager Greg Gatzka broke down the impact the rush of water could have.

"We don't know how all of those waterways coming in are going to affect the water just to our west and south of our city," he explained.

Gonzales says as much as it would hurt to leave her home town, she is prepared to evacuate if it comes down to it.

"Everybody is helping and yeah, maybe I am taking the RV, but we are taking people with us," Gonzales said.

City leaders say another priority is keeping important roads open because if an evacuation were to happen soon or in the summer, there needs to be a safe way out for everyone.

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