Residents prepare to evacuate after PG&E warns Bass Lake may spill over

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- According to PG&E, the Bass Lake water level is now just six inches below the spillway. They are warning people downstream to be careful around waterways and follow the advice of law enforcement.
It is like déja vu for Barbara Troup.

Two years ago, she was forced out of her North Fork home after water from Bass Lake flooded Willow Creek, which is just feet away from her property.

Now she is worried that reality is coming back for round two.

"It's like sitting on pins and needles. How far is the water going to come? When is it going to come and when do you have to leave?" Troup said.

Those concerns are looming after PG&E announced Tuesday that Bass Lake could reach spill levels on Wednesday or Thursday, sending more water down the reservoir.

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PG&E warns Bass Lake could soon reach spill levels; residents prepare

That leaves Troup and her granddaughter packing up important items and trying to figure out where they will likely have to go.

"I have a bag with all my important papers, and we'll grab our medicines and some clothes and be gone," she said.

"Considering family moved away, we don't have many places to go," said North Fork resident Carrie Lablante.

PG&E says that it is not unusual for the reservoir to spill during a wet winter because Bass Lake was designed as a hydroelectric power facility and not as a multi-year water storage reservoir like Millerton Lake and Pine Flat Dam.

"PG&E reservoirs are not designed for long-term storage of water, and we'll store water that comes from snowfall, and we'll generate hydroelectricity with it, and then it goes to downstream users of the water," said Denny Boyles, spokesperson for PG&E.

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PG&E and people in North Fork are keeping a close eye on levels at Bass Lake

While Troup understands that, she can't help but remember what happened the last time - when the overflow flooded campgrounds, apartment complexes, and even swept Yurts down the river.

"Hoping for the best, planning for the worst," she said about her strategy this time.

PG&E says there will not be immediate flooding like in years past, adding that residents will start to see creek levels rise slightly.

Action News also reached out to the Madera County Sheriff's Office, and we've learned deputies have gone door-to-door letting residents know there is a possibility of flooding.

But currently, there are no pre-evacuation advisories in place.
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