A water main break flooded Norwegian Avenue and several other streets just east of McHenry Avenue in central Modesto on Thursday afternoon.
City crews were called to Norwegian at Eldena Way – in front of Casa de Modesto Retirement Center – at about 1:30 p.m. after water broke though the asphalt and began to spill out unfettered for about 30 minutes.
The force at which the water poured from cracks in the asphalt overwhelmed the city’s rockwell storm drains and flooded several blocks, said Robert Englent, the city’s wastewater collection systems manager.
The water flowed west on Norwegian then north on La Cienega Drive toward Standiford Park and Standiford School, whose students were in their first day of classes.
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The pipe broke due to damage from age, Englent said.
The break occurred in front of Nathan Lozano’s home. “I looked out my blinds and it was all flooded,” he said. “I came out here and (the water) was up to my ankles and then five minutes later ... it was up to my calves.”
Lozano’s family had to quickly move one of their vehicles, which was sitting atop the broken line around cracking asphalt.
He and his family were taking the minor disaster in stride. Lozano even brought out a kayak and paddled around one of the flooded streets.
About 15 to 20 homes were without water while crews worked to dig about five feet below the street to access the damaged pipe.
Streets in the area were closed as crews worked to repair the pipe and cleanup the street, which was expected to take about four hours.