Rising Waters Raise Interest In Emergency Plans
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By Joeseph Walkins
Weston Ranch students and residents may wish to pay closer attention each time it rains.
Due to an abundance of rain, water levels in the San Joaquin River have placed unanticipated stress on nearby levees. And with the recent near-failure of the Oroville Dam in Northern California, water level might remain high for the immediate future.
Added to this situation is the fact that Weston Ranch as a sub-district is at a lower elevation than the surrounding levee and is classified as a flood plain. If a levee failed, it would result in significant flooding in and around Weston Ranch High School. While there are some other areas of Stockton that are at high risk for severe flooding with failure of a levee, none face the possibility of severe flooding of an entire sub-district.
If that ever happens, there is a plan set to help the high school cope with that dire situation.
Weston Ranch Vice Principal Dave Smith told The Prowl that there is an emergency response plan still being fine-tuned in the event of severe flooding.
The immediate evacuation plan in case of flooding would be to notify the Manteca Unified School District (MUSD) to send school buses to transport Weston Ranch students and staff to East Union High School in Manteca.
During the evacuation, parents or guardians of students would be notified, and once students arrive at East Union, they would be checked out to them. East Union is the first choice for an evacuation location because, Smith said, it is “geographically closer.”
On Feb. 20, residents in Weston Ranch received evacuation message because they live near a compromised area of San Joaquin County that was subject to mandatory evacuation near Ripon along Interstate 5. The evacuation temporarily sent about 500 residents to the Lathrop Community Center. That same evacuation order also led to one MUSD elementary school being closed for a day.