Californians forced into floodwaters to feed pets

STORY: Wading through knee-deep high floodwaters, Teresa Garcia is going to feed her cats.

Her neighborhood has been told to stay away from the water as it has been contaminated by oil and sewage.

But those living here say it took just 15 minutes for Porterville to be inundated by flood waters after a nearby levee broke.

With no time to remove belongings or animals, they say wading through the water is their only choice.

“We're shocked that all this happened as quick as it did. So now we're all you know, we don't know what we're going to do. All of us, you know, there's several tenants that live on this property. Because evidently we're not going to be able to come back here and live anymore so we're going to have to just take our losses.”

Torrential rain has been dumped on areas of California in recent weeks.

The West Coast has been pounded by an usually wet season following two decades of drought.

Victoria Bodley has lived in this community for over 50 years.

She says they had no warning about the flood which has wrecked her life.

“I lost all my whole livelihood here. My 86-year-old father lives there and he's lost everything. Everything. And what we've been, I'm 57 and I've been out here since I was seven, so we've been out here 50 years, and my father and I have lost everything. No warning, no nothing. It's devastating. And my pets are my life because I'm retired. And, you know, I was over the road for 25 years. I paid for my place, and it's not even paid for, but it's just devastating because we've lost it all."

The community's tight-knit residents are not holding out hope of returning to their homes.

They say they will salvage what they can, and try to move on.

“We weren't warned about the situation and we weren't able to have enough time to get our belongings and things out. So it was very, it was a fast matter that we had really no control, so it's very upsetting, saddening, depressing.”

California isn’t alone in dealing with the threat of floods.

U.S. government forecasters said Thursday this spring has a somewhat heightened flood risk for nearly half of the country.