Porterville area residents wake up to ugly mess after creek overflows

Tulare County Fire crews had to evacuate eight people from at least six homes on Friday morning after a nearby creek overflowed.

The excess water is supposed to flow through a culvert that crosses Worth Avenue, but for unknown reasons, it became clogged, creating a backup.

"It could be blocked for a number of reasons," said Tulare County Fire Captain Joe Rosa. "It could be debris, it could be a collapsed pipe... who knows what the reason for the obstruction is. But also we have an abundance of water that's coming down that isn't a norm for this culvert to handle."

Ana Ibarra got a call about the flooding at around 7 a.m.

She has owned several of the affected homes for 20 years, but hasn't seen anything like this before.

Luckily, she says she has insurance.

"She don't know what (to) feel," a translator said. "But she (said it) looks too ugly."

Friday afternoon, crews set up three pumps to suck water from the flooded homes.

Tulare County Fire Captain Joe Rosa said clearing the culvert is a continual process.

Eventually, Porterville public works crews will determine how it got clogged.

"We've been able to kind of take down some of this ground that's behind us and allow that water to flow in its natural flow path," Rosa said. "And what you see behind me is it's going under the roadway across Worth avenue and down Plano and in the path it was designed to go down."

Fire officials advise anyone affected by flooding to stay out of the water, contact their insurance company or landlord, and let authorities know if they think they need Red Cross assistance.
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