Businesses along Kings River start preparing for rising water

Local authorities fear rising temperatures and melting snow could be a recipe for disaster along the Kings River.

The Fresno County sheriff may close the river because of the increased flows from Pine Flat Dam.

Business owners are starting to see the rising levels, which is why they're taking some precautions and placing sandbags. With warmer temperatures and snowmelt, it's likely more areas of the river could close.

"It's getting higher and higher every day... it's come 6 inches since this morning," says Fred Delgado, owner of the Smokehouse Bar and Grill.

The shore is creeping closer, and water levels along the Kings river are continuing to rise.

Delgado says he isn't taking any chances.

Sandbags now line his restaurant, which sits steps away from the rising river.

"If we're going to flood, it's not going to do any good, we'll be underwater," he says.

Randy McFarland with the Kings River Association says the US Army Corp of Engineers is releasing more water - more than 9000 cubic feet per second.

With rising temperatures this weekend, the goal is to make room for the snowmelt.

"Everybody needs to be cautious and concerned. This isn't a case of doing something else, this is keeping a situation from getting worse," McFarland says.

On Friday, rising waters forced residents of the Club Royal Oak resort to evacuate.

The Kings River Golf Club parking lot is already seeing some flooding.

Along with higher barriers, golf club employees are also laying out sandbags

The Tulare County Sheriff's closed their portion of the Kings River, and Fresno County sheriff's officials say they may do the same as water levels continue to creep up.

"We got patrols, we can saturate areas quickly if we need to. We hope we don't have to tap that," says Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

Delgado says he's continuing to keep an eye on the shore, and hoping they don't have to evacuate in the next coming days.

"Really just wait until the fire department says you guys need to get out, so we'll wait until then."

Sheriff's deputies advise folks to avoid drinking before going in the water and keep an eye on your kids. But they say if you're not an experienced swimmer, avoid going in the river altogether.
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