June 29, 2017

Atmospheric river continues to batter Northern California

23 February 2017, 12:50 | Clarence Schmidt

A levee along the San Joaquin River near Manteca, Calif. was breached Monday evening.

Further north, farmers used tractors to shore up an endangered levee in California's agricultural heartland, officials opened a spillway at the Don Pedro reservoir for the first time in 20 years, and a Sierra Nevada highway threatened to collapse after the latest downpours swelled waterways, leaving almost half of the state under flood advisories. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for 300 to 500 people.

Crews say it started with water seeping under the levee. Crews are worked through the night with backhoes to fix it.

The area still under evacuation is South of Woodward Avenue, West of Airport way and North of Airport Court. Both Turtle Beach Resort and the Wetherbee Lake subdivision behind the old Oakwood Lake Resort are both included in the reformed boundaries. In Salinas, south of San Francisco, some evacuating residents had to be rescued by boat Monday, CNN affiliate KSBW-TV reported.

"As the water levels rise, it puts a lot of pressure outward", said Randy Burns, with the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services.

The increase in flows on the Tuolumne River due to spillway opening at #DonPedro has the water flowing high and dirty over La Grange Dam!

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"It's very serious", he said Monday night of the potential for flooding. The only issue is that such a response can't take place until the State of California declares a State of Emergency - something that a bi-partisan cooperative of Assemblymembers and State Senators tried to do over a week ago in a letter penned by Senator Cathleen Galgiani and sent to Governor Jerry Brown.

"We're running around out here with our hair on fire and they just don't seem to see the urgency".

The National Weather Service said heavy rain could persist as the latest in a serious of storms hovered over California's northern and central areas, including the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries but a flash flood warning remains in effect while crews try to patch the breach. On the contrary, the Salinas River near Spreckels could also rise up to 26 feet by Tuesday night.

"Our community is pulling together like real champs", said San Joaquin River Club's Paula Martin, who is helping coordinate emergency plans for the neighborhood of 800 homes.

Students at Nile Garden elementary school are expected to return to campus today after Manteca Unified School District officials called off classes in the wake of the evacuation order Monday night.

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