Levee break causes severe flooding in Corcoran

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Levee break causes severe flooding in Corcoran
Parts of Corcoran are flooded with water after a levee break early Saturday morning.

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Parts of Kings County are flooded with water after a levee break early Saturday morning

Gushing water flooded a nearby home and several businesses in Corcoran.

Corcoran resident Darrell Knox says he use to work for the people who live at the flooded home.

"My old friends. They had a notice to get out," Knox said.

Knox says seeing all this water makes him worried for his own home.

"What's concerning me now with the high winds and water washing against the banks. It could open the banks. It could create a whole lot of problems with the high winds," Knox explained.

Meanwhile, the Kings County sheriff's office is assessing the levee break every day.

Kings County Assistant Sheriff Robert Thayer says although the area is now farmland, it used to be the Tulare Lake and remains a natural basin for catching water.

"Physically as you can see, it's turning into a lake in front of our eyes as water from the Sierras are dumping down here into the Valley," Thayer explained.

A map of Tulare County from 1876 shows the City of Corcoran part of the lake bottom that was filled with water.

Over the years, ag fields took over and levees were built to keep water away.

Kings County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Nate Ferrier says seeing this amount of water is shocking.

"To see people's homes get destroyed. Agricultural land being destroyed. It's devastating for a lot of people," Ferrier said.

A video from ABC30 insider Armando Perez shows the Tulare County Sheriff's Office rescuing people who decided to drive through flooded waters.

Ferrier is asking people not to take the risk.

He says his team wants to focus on stopping further flooding, not rescuing people.

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