Hundreds rescued from dramatic San Jose floods

Record flooding continues in California. 


Hundreds of homes were evacuated as people were rescued wading in waist-high water and clinging to trees after days of rain caused water levels in Coyote Creek to rise and flood several neighborhoods in San Jose.

Two days of rain caused the already overfilled Anderson Dam to start sending water into the creek, which overflowed Tuesday afternoon into low-lying neighborhoods along its 30-miles, causing water to rise faster than officials said people could react to.

Tuesday night, mandatory evacuations had been ordered for more than 300 homes with dozens of people taken to shelters for the night. Officials said they expected water levels to start receding around midnight, when they plan to start checking homes, buildings and city facilities for damage.


“As I sit here today and look at a neighborhood that is completely inundated with water where we have fire crews doing whatever they can to get people out, there’s no question in my mind there was a failure of some kind,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said at a news conference. “We’ll have plenty of time for ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ in the days ahead. Right now, we’ve got to do whatever we can to get people out.”


Although officials were prepared for the possibility of rising waters based on levels in the dam and expected rain, they said they were unsure exactly where the most problematic areas would be.


Residents in many areas, such as the submerged Rock Springs neighborhood and at homeless encampments where five people were trapped in trees as the water rose, were caught off guard by what Liccardo called a “unique breach” of Coyote Creek.

Flooding varied from neighborhood to neighborhood along the creek, which runs about 30 miles through San Jose, but was expected to start receding overnight.

The respite may be short-lived as the wettest winter in California in decades – the state has been in a state of drought for the last five years – has more in store, with forecasters saying heavy rain is expected throughout most of next weekend.

“We’re not done yet,” said Steve Anderson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “That means more flooding, more mudslides, more trees down – more of the same,” Anderson said.

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Hoping everyone gets to higher ground safety. 

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