BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — With temperatures rising and increased attention on possible inundation, officials in Kern County say they are ramping up preparation and taking steps to better inform the public of what we can expect in the weeks ahead.
As of Monday, outflows from Isabella Lake are sitting at around 7,000 cubic feet per second.
Kern River Watermaster Mark Mulkay said the Army Corps of Engineers made that release order over the weekend and he expects the Corps to increase the order to 7,500 cubic feet per second late this week or early next week.
However, Mulkay and the Kern County Fire Department explain flows do not stay the same throughout the Kern River in Bakersfield. Large volumes of water are diverted from the river by a network of canals, lessening flows as it moves through the city.
“One thousand goes to the Beardsley [Canal], 1,000 goes to the Carrier Canal and then about 1,000 goes to the Calloway Canal,” Mulkay said.
The county identified low-lying areas most at risk of inundation, focusing largely on Highway 178, Yokuts Park and areas along the river between Rancheria Road and Manor Street.
Kern re-activated its Emergency Operations Center and Kern Fire Department Chief and Director of Emergency Services Aaron Duncan says officials are working on new maps for residents to assess risk to their property as well a dashboard with information.
“The dashboard and the hotline is being worked on as we speak. We want to hopefully have something done by the end of this week,” Duncan said. “That is our goal so that residents can know where to go to get the right information.”
Duncan said the county’s maps will go beyond the ones provided by FEMA.
“As for maps, we want to make sure we get good, accurate information. Those 100-year-old maps are really good but they just kind of paint a broad brush and we want to make sure that we can show each community how its going to affect them,” he said. “Hopefully by mid week we’ll be able to share the maps that we are creating as the county.”
The Army Corps of Engineers announced last week it expects Isabella Lake to exceed its capacity, causing the Dam’s service spillway to release water for the first time in 40 years, sometime between late May and mid-June.