In a release issued shortly before noon Tuesday, Pacific Gas and Electric Company made caution that flows from the Crane Valley Dam spillway at Bass Lake have surpassed necessary levels for the company’s emergency action plan, and that people in affected areas should prepare for potential impacts.
At 12:15 p.m., the Madera County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning for downtown North Fork in response, similar to warnings issued last month that forced about a dozen people from their homes.
“Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice should a mandatory evacuation order be issued,” the warning read.
The sheriff’s office also issued more information on the flash flood warning, available by signing up for the Nixle online notification system.
At the dam, spokesman Denny Boyles said flows will likely continue to rise.
“As these rains continue, flows into Bass Lake and over the Crane Valley Dam spillway are expected to increase and remain well above the normal seasonal flows for this time of year,” spokesman Denny Boyles said. “PG&E recommends those going near rivers and streams to be aware of the higher flows and take precautions.”
Flows at the Bass Lake dam have reached 800 cubic feet per second and will likely increase as heavy rains continue to impact the Mountain Area, Boyles said.
Boyles said the dam is functioning as designed, and PG&E activated its emergency action plan once flows exceeded 750 cubic feet per second.
“That plan involves coordination with all area emergency services, and we practiced that plan during a full drill in October and implemented the plan during storms last month,” Boyles said.
A flash flood warning was also issued for the Sierra Nevada mountains from Yosemite to Kings Canyon national park, including Oakhurst, Mariposa, Bass Lake, and other areas, until 1:45 p.m.