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'I've never seen this in my life' | San Joaquin River rising to historic levels in Patterson

An Evacuation Warning remains in effect for rural Patterson/Grayson along the San Joaquin River

PATTERSON, Calif. — Just feet from his pink Victorian home he built 45 years ago, 80-year-old Raymond Washburn is keeping a close eye on the swollen San Joaquin River.

 "It's coming up every night, probably eight or 10 inches," said Washburn, motioning to the river that butts up to his back property.

He says he has seen the river as high as it is now only two other times, however the retired mechanic/machinist and Vietnam veteran isn't too worried at the moment.

Nonetheless, his myriad of workshops, children's train and his "She Shed," a workshop built for his wife, are directly in the path of the river if it floods.

"First, it came in over there on the neighbor's. Then she called me and said, 'Hey, the water is coming.' Then, it came over into here now and it's come all the way up," said Washburn.

One man, who lives close by taking photos of the river, is very worried.

"Yeah, I've never seen this in my life, ever," he said.

Along with geese, lamb and other farm animals, Robin Imada and her husband own 10 acres of land right along the San Joaquin.

"The water came up to this top rail, not this last time, but in another year before," Imada said, pointing to a gate leading to the water.

In her 20 years here, she has seen the river rise, but is confident at the moment her property will be safe.

"I think the first flood we sandbagged the garage and everything and the water never got to the garage. So I don't get excited," said Imada.

Still, as storm after storm continues to soak the valley, emergency officials warn everyone to always be prepared. 

There are two evacuation shelters in place in Stanislaus County. One is located at the Salvation Army Red Shield at 1649 Las Vegas Street in Modesto. Another shelter is located at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds at 900 N. Broadway in Turlock.

People can call 209-552-3880 for more information. 


California Drought Update: Another atmospheric river on the way with strong winds expected

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