STOCKTON — San Joaquin County officials have declared a local state of emergency this week due to “extreme” public safety conditions caused by the recent atmospheric rivers and continued winter storms affecting the region.
“Residents can be sure that county leadership is coordinating efforts among all our community’s resources to best prepare for and respond to any challenges presented by the current storm systems,” San Joaquin County Board of Supervisor chair Robert Rickman said in a Monday press release.
On Tuesday, he and fellow supervisors ratified the state of emergency during their regular meeting at the county administration building in Stockton.
Although the county was hit with torrential rainfall New Year’s weekend, the winter storms that have caused the current state of emergency began March 1, officials said.
The several isolated flooding events from those storms caused the proclamation to be declared, and officials added the San Joaquin County Emergency Operations Center was activated on March 10 as a precautionary measure.
Activating the EOC helped the county further prepare for potential flood events with its cities, local irrigation districts, and other partnering agencies, and it will remain active until the current series of weather systems subsides, officials said.
“The county is still recovering from the damages and impacts of severe winter storms in December and January, and is now dealing with the impacts of this recent series of ongoing winter storms that initially struck California beginning in late February,” San Joaquin County Director of the Office of Emergency Services Tiffany Heyer said in a media statement.
“The proclamation will afford the county additional flexibility when managing floodwaters, obtaining resources, and allow for the possibility of state and federal reimbursement,” she added.
In an email to the News-Sentinel, Woodbridge resident Mary Avanti said she asked the Woodbridge Irrigation District if there was a flooding concern in the area.
General manager Andy Christensen told her that Woodbridge should be fine, so long as water does not rise above the Camanche Dam spillway.
“The likelihood of flooding in Woodbridge is very low,” he said. “The release past WID dam is 3,200 (cubic feet per second) and for it to flood, we would have to be in excess of 10,000 CFS. Camanche Dam can release 5,000 CFS and no more. Additional water above that would have to go over the spillway which is said to be out of control. We only had that once since I was there in 32 years and flow reached about 8,000 but only for a short period of time. I don’t see that happening.”
According to East Bay Municipal Utilities District’s daily water supply report, Camanche Reservoir was 78% full as of 2 p.m. Monday, which means it has plenty of room to accept new water from the winter storms and runoff.
San Joaquin County Public Works Director Fritz Buchman said crews are closely monitoring potential water level rises around the clock due to the flooding that caused the Arbor Mobile Home Park in Acampo to be evacuated in January.
He said the Acampo area has not experienced any flooding in several days, and the amount of rain expected from the current storm — as much as 1.5 inches — should be manageable.
“We expect modest impacts for the county as a whole,” Buchman said. “Should any area within the county need assistance, we have back-up pumps and generators available and will make a determination at that time where this equipment should be deployed.”
Lodi Public Works Director Charles Swimley said crews will be monitoring weather forecasts, but the department is not expecting major impacts from the rain this week.
“Our basins are at normal operational levels and the forecasts do not predict the heavy rainfall intensities that we experienced early this year,” he said. “However, the high winds are expected to be a factor and we have crews patrolling for downed limbs and branches.”
Residents throughout the county are asked to avoid flooded roads, remain clear of fast-moving creeks and rivers, and follow all emergency signage.
In addition, motorists should turn headlights on when driving.
Sandbags will remain available throughout the county. Up to date information on road closures, how and where to report flooding and downed trees, sandbag locations, and evacuation orders can be found online at sjready.org/events/winter-storm.
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