As the historic snowpack in the Sierra Nevada begins to melt, the City of Porterville would like to remind the public to choose “life over recreation.” With the weather warming up, residents may be tempted to enter the Tule River to cool off by spending time in or near the River and canals. With the Mandatory Evacuation Order of the banks of the Tule River within city limits issued on March 19, 2023 still in effect, City officials ask that all residents avoid the waterways and understand water safety as levels continue to rise with cold water that can shock and incapacitate even the best swimmers.
The next several months will be spent monitoring and controlling water releases of Success Lake Schafer Dam to manage the incoming snowmelt. The atmospheric river storms from January and March brought substantial rainfall and record snowfall which is expected to begin melting over the weekend. No immediate flooding is expected from the runoff, but that could change in a matter of months if the snow melts too quickly, sending massive amounts of water down into the valley. Currently, the Tulare County snowpack is over 200% above the average, which will melt into thousands of acre feet of water, some of which may feed into the reservoir at Lake Success, and into the Tule River. As a result of the high-water levels and hazardous conditions in the Tule River, the City of Porterville urges residents to stay away from the River, practice water safety in allowed recreational spaces, and have a plan if your residence is located near a waterway.
The City of Porterville also offers Cooling Centers during periods of extreme heat. The public is encouraged to use City Hall, the Porterville Library, or the Porterville Transit center during normal business hours to cool off. The Fallen Heroes Park Splash Pad is also available every weekend beginning Memorial Day through Labor Day during the hours of 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. During extreme heat emergencies with sustained high temperatures, the Splash Pad along with additional Cooling Centers may be activated with longer hours to assist the public. For more information regarding business hours for these facilities, you can call City Hall at 559-782-7499.