High flood flows in Tulare County are causing levee breaches. Levee breaches on Deer Creek and Poso Creek are currently endangering Allensworth, a California town that was founded by African-Americans, as well as the town of Alpaugh. For more background on Allensworth, see this article.
Los Angeles Times reporter Ian James drove to Allensworth and interviewed Jack Mitchell, the 83 year old staff for the Deer Creek Flood Control District and the volunteers from Allensworth who were fighting to save their town. See A California town’s frantic fight to save itself from floods
Homeland Canal. On bank in foreground is a land plane, heavy equip. Left of land plane is Poso Creek channel, filled with water (and some appliances). Stretching to west is Poso water that has overtopped channel. Poso is about 15 ft above Homeland water. pic.twitter.com/xOQBdzAeEW
— SJV Water (@SJVWater) March 21, 2023
This chaotic situation is a result of the complete failure of the Tulare County Hazard Mitigation Plan to do any kind of planning for routing flood flows to protect levees. From p. 91:
Extent: Currently, there is no database for the County that completely accounts for all levees and their condition. Without the location and design/condition of each levee, the extent of levee failures for the
County cannot be determined.
Probability of Future Events: Due to the lack of knowledge regarding the levee system in the County, the probability of future levee failures in the County is unknown. However, levee failure may result from a large winter storm or seismic event. Therefore, due to past levee failure history, it is considered possible but unlikely that a levee failure event will occur within the next ten years (a one in ten-year chance of occurring – 1/10 = 10%). Event history is less than or equal to 10% likelihood per year.
One thought on “Chaos in Tulare County shows need for advance flood planning”
I appreciate your work on this topic. Unfortunately this is actually a 4-county problem: Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern. The lack of data, as well as institutional amnesia, is part of the problem; the other part is the power structure that has left county-level authorities hamstrung for a century or more.