Tulare County residents worried after evacuation warning

Vince Ybarra Image
Monday, March 27, 2023
Tulare County residents worried after evacuation warning
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Residents across the South Valley are trying to clean up while also fearing what's to come.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Parts of Tulare County are under evacuation. Evacuee Tina Fernandez has lived in Porterville for 10 years. She said she is worried about the rushing Tule River waters will flood her home.

"I get nervous because, in the night, it gets more flooding. And in the morning, when I get ready to go to work, I see more water. So I get really bad dreams and I cannot focus on my work," said Fernandez.

For peace of mind, Fernandez and her children stay with her parents at night.

Meanwhile, in the city of Tulare, farmers grouped together during the storm. Farmer Tyler Ribeiro said they all pitched in supplies to build a dirt wall.

But the help didn't stop at construction.

"We always say, 'Hey, whatever you need, let us know.' But to see it actually happen. To see people helping others that don't even know each other, haven't even known each other's names, now there's cattle at their place, or their tractors are coming miles up here to come help. It's almost overwhelming to see that kind of support," said Ribeiro.

He grew up on his family's farm. Ribeiro said several farmers have lost everything in this flood, and it's difficult to understand the financial impact at this time.

"We really don't know how bad it is yet. There's going to need to be a lot of support here in order to rebuild," said Ribeiro.

Tulare County teamed up with the American Red Cross to open a shelter. It will be open 24 hours a day for anyone needing shelter. Tulare County says they will be open as long as the help is needed.

The three shelters in Tulare County are Exeter Veterans Memorial Building on 324 N. Kaweah Ave. in Exeter, Porterville College Gymnasium on 100 E. College Ave. in Porterville and Ivanhoe Memorial Hall on 33209 Hawthorne Rd. in Ivanhoe.

If your animals need shelter, you can take them to Tulare County Fairgrounds on 620 South K Street in Tulare, where you'll enter Gate 7 off Martin Luther King Jr Ave. Animals can be dropped off between the hours of 8 am to 7 pm.

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