Manteca Neighbors Worried About Water Before Levee Breach

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MANTECA -- San Joaquin River levels worried neighbors in Manteca and Tracy, just hours before a levee breach forced hundreds to evacuate late Monday night.

"I was shocked I've never seen it that bad, I didn't think the water could get over there," Robert Cole said.

He was one of dozens of neighbors who stopped along Airport Road and Kasson Way to get a look at flooding that engulfed a truck, two mobile homes, and several buildings at the Manteca Sportsman's Club.

"It just slowly progresses up and all of a sudden it's at your front door," Courtney Carl said.

Considering how much higher the water promised to rise in the storm system, some wondered how long it would be before water topped a local levee.

"I don't know how much water is coming, but it seems like enough to where you should get out and be in front of it right now," Bryon Carl said.

About three hours later, officials announced a levee breach two miles to the west OF Airport Road and Perrin and evacuated people South of Woodward and East to Union. Officials said later that the breach was halted.

"What will happen is it the river breaks it will try to self-equalize, so," Anthony Burger with the California Conservation Corps said.

For days on end, the CCC had been just a couple minutes away from the levee breach, reinforcing a different mile and a half long stretch of levee with sandbags in a process known as wave protection, proving that the damage created by the winter's historic storm systems was both very difficult to predict and to prepare for.