Sacramento Weir Opens for First Time in Over a Decade

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YOLO COUNTY -- The Sacramento Weir opened for the first time in over a decade

Hundreds of people were standing by the whole day Monday to see if Sacramento River levels would reach 30 feet at the I Street Bridge, but it never passed 29. However, Tuesday at 4 a.m., it was go time. Department of Water Services staff manually opened at least seven of the 48 flood gates at the Sacramento Weir for the first time since 2006.

"The Yolo Bypass can take about five times the flow of the Sacramento River, past Sacramento, so it's absolutely critical feature, and this relieves that pressure from those levees in the Sacramento urban area," Jon Ericson with the Department of Water Resources said.

With the Sacramento River so high, 10,000 cubic feet per second of water gushing straight through the Sacramento Weir into the Yolo Bypass is exactly what people have been waiting for 11 years.

"That hasn't happened in forever, so when I found out this morning and they did open some of the gates, I was like, 'OK, I'm going to be a weather nerd and go look,'" onlooker Brook Bingaman said.

Bingaman said she was at the Weir Monday anticipating the water release. Now, she is able to finally take her before and after photos of the Yolo Bypass.

"For someone who has lived in California, the Sacramento area for a while, and we've been in drought for so long, it's really great to see so much water in one place, it's almost like another river. It's fascinating," Bingaman said.

A spectacular sight for many like Bingaman. As for the Department of Water Resources, the work has only begun.

"From now on, we will continue to watch releases at Folsom and stages in the American River," Ericson said. "We will also look north of Sacramento at Oroville, Shasta, and determine to see if we need to open up any more gates over the next few days."