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Lathrop levee status: Things good so far
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As fears of flooding along the San Joaquin River mount, the City of Lathrop has issued a bulletin to residents to explain the situation that they’re facing and quell any fears that may be building.
On Friday, the city issued an official notice that detailed everything that is currently going on with the river, and what the forecast could bring based on current information about storms and what the possible increase in flows could mean.
Right now, according to the release, Lathrop is not in danger of flooding – the river is currently at 19.3 feet, and has seen a slight dip in the flow over the course of the last 24 hours. The river is expected to increase back up to monitor stage – which starts at 19.5 feet – which means that local levee maintenance crews will be patrolling to spot any possible trouble spots that may need immediate repair.
The river won’t reach flood stage until it hits 28.5 feet, and the severity of the flood stage could increase up to major flood stage, which is at 33.1 feet.
“Lathrop is not in danger of flooding at this time. All of the levees in RD 17 and RD 2062 that protect urban development provide 100 year flood protection,” the city wrote in it release. “However, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the State Department of Water Resources, local officials, reclamation and irrigation districts and county Office of Emergency Services from several counties are monitoring and coordinating flood control efforts across the Central Valley basin to assess impacts and implement flood control plans.”
On Friday, Lathrop Manteca Fire District Chief Gene Neely spoke to a group of farmers out on Perrin Road along with representatives from the California Office of Emergency Services – including a man that was working with the department to help coordinate the response to the South Manteca area during the 1997 flood.
According to Neely, the situation is currently stable but the entire system of levees that are in danger of being stressed are being monitored very closely.
People who live in areas on the inside of the levee, like at the Two Rivers RV Park up the river, have been notified that they may be ordered to evacuate at any time as the water encroaches on their living quarters. Places like Two Rivers, Cardoza Villa and Haven Acres are all susceptible to flooding during the years that the San Joaquin River swells because there is no levee protection for them.
And Lathrop’s levee has recently undergone work to strengthen the eastern side that faces the river —work that began earlier this week and was carried out by Reclamation District 17 to prevent the heavy seepage that has been seen on other sections of the levee. The seepage is predominantly safe and is simply a  rising groundwater water that fluctuates in connection with the rising level of the river. Most of that water eventually absorbs back into the ground and into the river.
Currently the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services has a unified command team in place that includes Lathrop, Manteca, Tracy and Stockton police and fire departments. If an emergency were to develop, the county would use the emergency broadcast system to notify residents of mandatory evacuations, and the routes that will be used to get people out of harm’s way. Those contingency plans are being drawn up so that in the event of a levee break, the evacuation format is already in place.
The City of Lathrop has also been working with Manteca Unified School District – which already has an emergency safety plan – to ensure that in the event of an emergency all students will be safe. The district will also be able to communicate with the Incident Command Team at County OES to ensure that plans are in place. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.