Several communities in Kern County that were previously under extended evacuation orders or warnings were reopened Thursday.
While Kern County is still reeling from back-to-back atmospheric storms that have flooded areas ranging from McFarland to low-lying areas of the county's mountain regions, some areas are coming back online as the waters continue to recede.
As of 6:05 p.m. Thursday, county authorities lifted evacuation orders for portions of Wofford Heights, Kernville and east McFarland. An evacuation warning has been lifted for select areas around Poso Creek.
Areas now open in Wofford Heights include: Beginning at the Kernville River Valley Cemetery, south to Wofford Heights Hill, including all areas east of Highway 155/Wofford Heights Boulevard/Burlando Road to the edge of Lake Isabella.
The Kernville area is reopened with the exception of Camp Kernville at Sirretta Street. Kern County's fire department said the camp is still closed due to "extensive infrastructure damage."
All other evacuation orders and warnings, for now, remain in effect. Two shelters in Kern are still open to the public: 11th Avenue Community Center in Delano and Kern Valley High School in Lake Isabella.
“For health and safety risks, no persons should attempt to repopulate an area under evacuation order until the orders have been lifted,” Freeborn said.
“Overnight water levels in creeks continued to rise and local area flooding was experienced in parts of the valley floor in northern Kern,” said Kern County Fire spokesperson Capt. Andrew Freeborn.
According to the Kern County Fire Department, the Kern River and other creeks are still experiencing high water levels, and flooding continues in areas throughout the valley floor. And Kern County Public Works reported as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday that 52 roads are closed, two are under cautionary use and five have been reopened within the last 24 hours.
The county, along with surveyors from the U.S. Geological Survey, will continue to assess the damage incurred in Wofford Heights, other parts of the Kern River Valley and the communities of McFarland and Pond.
Another atmospheric river, although weak, is expected to start Monday through Wednesday and produce up to an inch in rain in Bakersfield and two inches in the Kern River Valley, according to the National Weather Service station in Hanford. Two to three inches of snow are expected at elevations of 3,500 feet and above from Tuesday into Wednesday.
Highway 178 through the canyon is currently closed due to a rockslide on Wednesday. According to Christian Lukens, a spokesperson for Caltrans, demolition crews should be out there Friday morning to detonate a boulder blocking the road.