Levee break on the Merced River creates major flooding

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- In Merced County residents are being told to stay away from the Merced River and other waterways. It comes as the US Army Corps of Engineers is increasing the flow of water from Lake McClure in Mariposa County due to forecasted storms and already high water levels in the lake.

The major problem area right now is Merced Falls road near Highway 59.

About 14 miles downstream from Lake McClure where a levee broke earlier Thursday, the water flooded the road in both directions and the Merced River is roared next it as it flowed nearly level with the roadway.

Officials expect the flows in the river to reach up to 7,000 cubic feet per second, which they haven't seen since the great flood of 1997.

Merced county officials say they are releasing all this water because the lake is at 90-percent capacity. And with another storm on the way there is just no more room in the reservoir.

"A lot of them have a high volume of water because of storms that we've had and we're anticipating more to come, so we're doing what we can right now to keep these flows moving and keep these reservoirs at a manageable level," said Mike North, Merced County.

There haven't been any evacuation notices yet but official say people in the area should sign up for the Merced County Emergency Notification System.

Merced County Office of Emergency Services is holding a news conference Friday at 11:30 a.m. where they will discuss how this next storm may impact you.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.