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Levee break prompts evacuations near Minkler

A levee collapse in Fresno County flooded homes and forced evacuations on Sunday.
Sunday, July 06, 2014
A levee collapse in Fresno County flooded homes and forced evacuations on Sunday.

A 20-foot section of the Alta Sierra Canal broke. The rupture sent water rushing across Highway 180 -- reducing it to one lane near Minkler.

A once solid levee is now crumbling to pieces. It's the source of a huge flood that's releasing water from the canal to homes just on the other side.

"My husband ran up the road, come to find out there's a big hole in the side of the canal," said Alice Dedmon.

Dedmon and her family were moving non-stop since the water flooded their property.

"We're trying to pack up the important things in the house, got my dogs in the car, my chickens up on high ground," she said.

Dedmon's next-door neighbor Dianna Morgan was lugging everything she could through the knee-deep water. It was a small price to pay to save her possessions.

Once the water passed through the homes, it spilled over the 180 to open fields and vineyards.

"The large rush of water because they've already isolated the canal has already passed," said Cal Fire Capt. Ryan Michaels.

Irrigation crews were able to shut off the water mains quickly. But Michaels says the damage could've been catastrophic -- a reminder of nature's power.

Irrigation crews are expecting to have the levee fixed by Monday. It's unclear how many homes or businesses are affected by the water break.
Related Topics:
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