The City of Visalia declared a local state of emergency Monday afternoon in response to the past weekend’s storm and in anticipation of another storm forecasted to hit Tuesday morning.
Under advisement from the County of Tulare and the Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Visalia made the declaration and immediately implemented an emergency response plan which will be effective through Monday, March 20.
City crews successfully diverted water and avoided major flooding in most areas of the City over the weekend. However, water levels remain high in most waterways as of Monday evening with even more rain anticipated to start again at approximately 5:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.
In addition to the forecasted rain and snowmelt on its way from the nearby Sierra Nevada, the Army Corps of Engineers is planning a release of water from Lake Kaweah at the Terminus Dam due to an influx of water in the lake which will impact waterways throughout the City of Visalia. Releasing water will likely include a release over the spillway, which is not a dam failure, but a planned operation.
“We are preparing for different scenarios that could take place over the next 48 hours and are working with local agencies to ensure that our City is ready,” said City of Visalia Fire Chief, Dan Griswold. “With the Declaration of a Local Emergency, we advise people to wait for official communication and know that we are working on plans and services.
The City of Visalia is working closely with other local agencies such as the County of Tulare, Cal Water, SoCal Gas, Southern California Edison, and other nearby cities to prepare for all possibilities.
Residents who live directly next to a waterway are advised to utilize City services, place sandbags at their property, and prepare for the possibility of waterways to spill over.
As the storm and flooding event progresses, information will be disseminated to all residents and community members via social media, media outlets, in-person notifications as needed, and even text alerts if residents opt to receive them.
To receive the latest emergency updates for Visalia, sign up for text alerts by texting “VISALIA” to +18447137830.
“We are preparing for the next storm and encourage all community members to prepare their own households for an amount of water that the City has never seen before,” added Griswold. “Even if you do not live directly by a waterway, we advise everyone to prepare to the best of their ability before this storm and water hits.”
How to Prepare for the Next Storm:
Utilize the City of Visalia Dry Center available at the Visalia Transit Center Lobby, located at 425 E. Oak Ave. The Dry Center is open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. through Wednesday, March 15.For those needing overnight accommodations, the Visalia Warming Center is open from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. through Saturday, March 18, located at 701 E. Race Ave.
- The City of Visalia has a 24-hour self-serve sand station available for Visalia residents at the Visalia Corporation Yard on Cain Street, between Goshen and Main. Residents must bring their own shovel, but sand and sandbags are available at the station. Bags are limited to eight per household.
- Limit unnecessary travel but ensure your car’s fuel tank is full.
- Prepare your household by ensuring you have water, non-perishable food, and cash on hand.
- Create a communication plan for your family.
- Unplug any devices at your home if flooding is anticipated near you. Ensure any portable charging devices are fully charged before rain begins.
- Prepare important documents in one place and have them easily accessible.
- Move important or valuable items off the floor of your home to higher areas such as shelves or overhead space if possible.
- If you have a pet, ensure you have a stock of food for them and a plan in place for their care.