California town engulfed in floodwater. But residents fear what will happen if they flee

Ian James, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

ALLENSWORTH, Calif. — A pool of floodwater covered Perla Estrada’s front yard. She walked in sandals through the muddy water.

Estrada said she’s worried that water from a coming storm could climb higher toward the doorstep of her mobile home.

“We don’t see a solution,” Estrada said, adding that she has been asking local emergency workers for help.

Her son, Juan Espinoza, walked through shin-deep water on the dirt road in front of their home.

“One day to another, it just got really bad,” Espinoza said.

Allensworth is one of many San Joaquin Valley towns on edge amid major flooding in rural communities from surging rivers and breached levees.


With more rain falling this week, there are concerns the flooding could get considerably worse.

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday ordered evacuations in Alpaugh and Allensworth after a nearby levee breached. At least one official indicated the breach may have been caused by someone intentionally cutting through an earthen barrier with machinery.

The breach near Allensworth has been temporarily repaired, but officials are unsure if it will hold.

Allensworth lies on land where rivers once fed Tulare Lake before it was drained to serve agriculture in the early 1900s. The latest storms have sent floodwaters surging through canals and ditches and flowing across farmlands toward the old lake bottom in Tulare County.


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