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Spectators Gather Hoping to See Sacramento Weir’s Gates Open for the First Time in a Decade

YOLO COUNTY -- It's not a new tourist attraction in town, but Monday, a century-old Sacramento fixture attracted spectators.

They came to watch, wait and record.

"This is an old garage sale special," said Mark Lewis.

Lewis brought his vintage camera in anticipation of the Sacramento Weir's gates opening for the first time in over a decade.

It's a sight he's seen before.

"I was out here when I was a kid, last I saw it right up there, it was quite a sight," Lewis said.

The Department of Water Resources announced the gates would open Monday but continued monitoring the river well into the afternoon.

The gates go up once the river level at the I Street Bridge reaches 30 feet and rising.

"It is 100 years old, it has to be manually opened, each gate by gate," said Jon Ericson, California Department of Water Resources chief of the Hydrology and Flood Operations Office.

The weir is a vital tool in flood prevention in Sacramento, Ericson said.

It diverts water from the river, sending it into the Yolo Bypass instead of downstream.

"It relieves that pressure on the Sacramento River, and the American, on the levees in the urban community," said Ericson.

As conditions are monitored around the clock at the DWR's flood operation center, David Lind kept an eye on the weir, ready to see a surge of water rush into the flood plane.

"There's a lot of force, it's gonna be impressive, I think it'll be noisy. And I'd like to see that river go down," Lind said.

For those who came by, the sound of rushing water and the sight of the swollen Sacramento River seemed to be enough entertainment, even without the weir's gates open.