By Angela Musallam

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Construction crews are working around the clock to shore up a damaged levee on Tyler Island before the rain arrives.

The reclamation district which oversees levees in the area noticed a hole in the levee on Monday — It’s now 70 feet wide.

The district predicts part of the island could flood if the levee fails.

An evacuation advisory for Tyler Island is still in effect as crews try to stabilize the levee.

Rick Hanger lives on Tyler Island, but isn’t sticking around to find out.

“I’m gonna get another trailer and put all my stuff in it and move it out if it does break,” said Hanger.

Hanger is packing up his belongings and staying with friends in Walnut Grove until the evacuation advisory is lifted.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” said Steven Mello, President of Reclamation District 563.

Mello and his volunteers patrol 23 miles of levee, looking for excess water or boils– the result of water seeping under a levee — and making its way above the ground.

“We have our eyes on the levee every 50 minutes and this was a real surprise, it tells you anything could happen,” Mello added.

Mello says his district doesn’t inspect levees aggressively before a storm, but after.

“Ahead of the rain is when it’s safest; after the rain we will pay very close attention to water monitoring on the Cosumnes River,” Mello said.

According to engineers from Mello’s reclamation district, if the levee does fail during the storm, about 20 homes around the island could flood. But the goal is to keep engineers and crews working on the levee, so that doesn’t happen.

Hanger isn’t new to this. He experienced a levee break on the island in 1986 says this time:

“I’m going up to the casino and doing a little gambling.”

Crews will continue to work overnight for a second night to get the levee all shored up and stabilized.
Most of the residents in Tyler Island live on the high side, so they have a few hours to load up if there is flooding.


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