Corcoran’s Chief of Police and Director of Emergency Services Reuben Shortnacy declared a local State of Emergency Saturday, March 18 due to the flooding in and around Corcoran.
The State of Emergency was declared due to the series of atmospheric river systems impacting California. The recent atmospheric rivers storms have brought a significant amount of runoff and flooding to Corcoran and surrounding agricultural lands in a short period of time, causing an imminent threat of mass flooding and flood related disaster to Corcoran and throughout Kings County.
Also, the threat of flooding will be ongoing for the next few months with the large amounts of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the City of Corcoran anticipates more flood releases from Pine Flat Dam, Terminus Dam and Success Dam and uncontrolled flood flows in Tule River, Dry Creek, Cross Creek and other local streams, on both the east and west sides of the Valley.
And although the City of Corcoran has declared the State of Emergency, the local waterways are being managed well and the State of Emergency will help Corcoran have access to more resources.
In the Nixle alert sent out Saturday, the City stated that “while the threat of flooding for the city is currently low, it’s a threat nonetheless and we need to be prepared. We have taken steps in that preparation process, however this declaration will make more resources available to the city to handle situations that may arise as a result of the water flowing into the lakebed near and around Corcoran.”
And, also happening last week the Kings County Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting regarding the flooding. Joe Faulkner, Corcoran City Public Works Director and Cross Creek Flood Control District Trustee attended last Thursday’s special meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
Faulkner explained to the board the location of channels of their district and issues with water coming east towards the City of Corcoran. He stated that there is an armed guard at the Cross Creek levee to keep it from being touched and asked the Board to leave that levee intact.
Devin Eagle, Corcoran Irrigation District General Manager was also in attendance and he told the board that Highline canal has been accepting water from St. Johns River which is hitting their weir at Kansas Avenue. When it’s being held in Cross Creek it’s manageable but Highline has no check systems to control the water and it is now above their staff gauges and with no demand for water, all ponds are full so all of these issues are concerns for flooding within the City of Corcoran.
Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson stated that there were several breaches in canals and there is a lot of pressure going towards Corcoran. His goal is to protect the residents of Corcoran and he thanked the board for holding the meeting so that actions can be taken.
Kings County District 2 Supervisor and Board Chairman Richard Valle said he will work hard to keep Corcoran residents informed.
“I want the people of Corcoran to know that I take this flood crisis as seriously as I took the crisis of the pandemic. I will work to the extent of my duties to help our community be kept safe even if it means just providing information and updates through social media. People appreciate information in times like these,” he added.
Supervisor Valle has kept his constituents informed through his Facebook page which also includes road closures and other issues that affect Corcoran.
Those other issues that flooding has caused for Corcoran have included the cancellation of all southbound trains out of Corcoran. Currently trains going southbound are no longer operating and all southbound trains from Fresno are suspended until further notice. However, anyone wishing to catch the train going Northbound can do so from the Fresno Train Station. Despite the cancellation of southbound trains from Corcoran, the Amtrak/Corcoran Depot office is still open. Those office hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The Corcoran Area Transit (CAT) bus is still operating as well as the KART bus to Hanford which is still available and leaves Corcoran at 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 4:40 p.m.
Current roads closures include Ave 144 and Highway 43. South Dairy Avenue is also closed at Quebec Avenue. However, there is access to SATF (State Prison) on Quebec Avenue East from Dairy Avenue.
Behind the scenes working hard to protect the city are Faulkner, City Manager Greg Gatzka and Police Chief Reuben Shortnacy who have been monitoring the flooding and its impact on Corcoran. Faulker has driven the levee every day since the threat of flooding has occurred. And the decision to place an armed guard at the Cross Creek levee was made to protect the city. And while the situation will be ongoing for the next few months, residents of Corcoran can be assured that the City is doing everything it can to keep the water out.
To receive current and updated flooding information and road closures sign-up for Nixle alerts, which are being used by the City of Corcoran and the Corcoran Police Department; to signup text 93212 to 888777.