Thursday, June 30, 2011

[californiadisasters] Officials Worry About Flooding On Mok River

Officials worry about flooding on the Mokelumne River

Published: Thursday, Jun. 30, 2011 - 11:50 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 30, 2011 - 12:23 pm

Officials are growing concerned about a risk of flooding on the Mokelumne River today as Camanche Dam is forced to throw open its floodgates to handle massive snowmelt runoff.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District, which owns the dam, plans to increase releases to 5,000 cubic feet per second by noon. That is the maximum controlled release volume the dam is capable of, and matches the channel capacity downstream.

District spokesman Charles Hardy said there is a risk of additional uncontrolled releases from the dam's spillway after that, because the reservoir is 97 percent full and inflow from upstream already exceeds 5,000 cfs. The watershed received 1.6 inches of rain in Tuesday's unusual storm, he said, which is still making its way downstream.

"It's just more water coming in than we can handle," Hardy said.

The district has closed a public day-use area below the dam. Further downstream, the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office has closed Stillman Magee Park, a popular access point for boaters, anglers and others.

"Deputies will be stationed there to turn people away," said Det. Dave Konecny. "It's very unsafe, obviously, from how cold the water is and the heavy releases."

The county's emergency services director, Ron Baldwin, said there is a risk of levee breaks and flooding downstream in Lodi and Thornton if flows exceed 5,000 cfs.

"That would cause some problems," Baldwin said.

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