Los Angeles Times

State drains water to avoid flooding

Reservoir levels are lowered as officials expect at least 10 rivers to overflow.

- By Hayley Smith and Ian James

With back-to-back storms to hit California in the coming days, state officials are scrambling to make strategic releases from key reservoirs in hopes of preventing a repeat of the f looding that killed nearly two dozen people in January.

At least 10 rivers are forecast to overflow from the incoming “Pineapple Express” storm, which is expected to drop warm, heavy, snowmeltin­g rain as it moves from the Central Coast toward the southern Sierra beginning Thursday night into Saturday.

Among them are rivers that flooded at the start of the year, when nine atmospheri­c river storms pummeled the state. The waterways include the Cosumnes River near Sacramento, where more than a dozen levee breaches sent f loodwaters onto roadways and lowlying areas, trapping drivers and contributi­ng to at least three deaths along Highway 99.

“This is a very dynamic system,” Department of Water Resources director Karla Nemeth said at a briefing Thursday. “Rivers and creeks can rise very quickly, and so it does have the po

As of Thursday, the California Nevada River Forecast Center predicted that several rivers within its boundary may be at risk of overflowin­g through Tuesday.

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