Rare Releases From Don Pedro Spillway Reach Modesto

MODESTO (CBS13) — The Tuolumne River continues to swell with the opening of the Don Pedro spillway. The river rose above flood stage Tuesday, and the city of Modesto is seeing some of that impact.

Augustin Solrio and his family live right next to a now flooded Santa Cruz Avenue where water is inching up just feet away from their home.

“It’s kind of scary, we’ve never seen anything like this,” said Solrio.

“When we found out water was coming this way, that’s when we started packing up a little bit, ready to move,” he said.

While there are no mandatory evacuations, Solrio has packed up his truck ready to go if needed.

Many of his neighbors say they’ve been on edge all day, some without power, just watching the river levels.

Earlier in the day, two men had to be rescued by boat as the American Legion Hall building on the west edge of Legion Park started to flood with the rising of the Tuolumne river.

“We deployed our boat and we were able to rescue them and bring them to the safe side of the water,” said Jessica Smart with Modesto Fire.

All day people stopped by to check out the high river.

“It’s crazy just to see that much water coming down,” said one Modesto resident.

Since the Turlock Irrigation District first opened the spillway gates Monday, they’ve lowered the outflow from 18,000 Cfs.

“The current weather and forecast have us maintaining releases in the 16,000 to 17,000 cubic feet per/second range,” said Calvin Curtain with TID.

Meanwhile, mobile home parks along the river are seeing the most flooding.

And for communities without power, authorities are asking for patience as they make their way down the channel inspecting homes.

“We don’t want to re-energize a property that could potentially risk lives or property,” said Curtain.

TID as requested of the Army Corps of Engineers to keep releases at about 16 to 17,000 CFS for the next 9 to 10 days until they can lower Don Pedro reservoir to 815 feet.

More from Shirin Rajaee
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