BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern residents are getting mixed signals about what to expect from the Kern River as the Sierra snowpack continues to melt into the summer months.
There are two predictions. One shows the flooding could be bad while the other says it could be minimal.
The Kern County Fire Department has more than 100 firefighters working with property owners along the Kern River to help keep homes safe from the flood.
“We’re seeing a really great response through the interaction we’re having with people throughout the communities,” Captain Andrew Freeborn with the Kern County Fire Department said. “We had a makeshift town hall meeting out in Goodmanville. It had a great turnout. As of now, we’ve already given out close to 4,000 sandbags to these individuals.”
Freeborn says there’s no clear picture of how bad the flood could be. Many variables can change the prediction of every model from one day to the next.
“It’s very hard to paint a specific answer of exactly how far water will get onto someone’s property or if it even will get on their property,” Freeborn said. “There’s so many different variables and we’re trying to crunch those every day and give the most accurate examples we can.”
Freeborn says even with these two opposite predictions many property owners along the Kern River are preparing.
“We’re saying be prepared,” Freeborn said. “There’s potential the river can rise. We want the community to know we’re here, we’re working on this and we’re taking it serious. The best thing for people to do is keep their awareness up.”
The Kern River has grown so much that the county fire department will be training firefighters in swift white water rapid rescues on Friday at Yokuts Parks.