After days of storms dumped record rainfall throughout Northern California, the Anderson Reservoir filled to the brim Monday and sent water roaring down the concrete spillway and into Coyote Creek. The rising waters prompted daring rescues and forced evacuations of homes, encampments and office buildings in parts of the South Bay.
San Jose declared a “local emergency” Tuesday as rivers surged and flooded neighborhoods, stretches of freeway, homeless settlements and Happy Hollow Zoo.
More than 100 people who live around Senter Road and Phelan Avenue had to leave their homes after the muddy waters submerged their cars and rose halfway up their front doors. Rescue boats went from house to house in the Nordale community, picking up people who were trapped in their homes. By late Tuesday, Coyote Creek had begun to flood houses throughout downtown along Williams and Santa Clara streets.
San Jose police also ordered the evacuation of more than 300 Santa Clara County employees as offices for CalWORKS and In-Home Support System in South San Jose filled with water. Overflow from the Guadalupe River flooded a parking garage Monday night at Mineta San Jose International Airport, but was pumped out by the next morning.
San Jose, home to one of the nation’s largest populations of unsheltered homeless people, dispatched rescue teams on boats and a helicopter to creekside homeless camps overwhelmed by the swollen waterways.
Firefighters rescued several homeless people stranded along Coyote Creek by the Los Lagos Golf Course on Tuesday morning, as dozens of other people climbed trees and scrambled up the riverbanks to escape the rushing waters.
Outreach workers have been visiting homeless encampments throughout San Jose to spread word about the floods and where people can find emergency shelter—at James Lick High School, 57 N. White Road.
The city is also running temporary evacuation shelters at the Roosevelt, Shirakawa and Mayfair community centers. Click here for the latest update on the city’s emergency weather alert landing page. To find out if your house is in a flood zone, click here.
The Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing declared an inclement weather episode, which means an additional 292 shelters beds will be made available in various locations through Saturday morning.
The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has been transporting people for evacuations, which may lead to some service disruptions. Other VTA bus lines were rerouted to avoid flood zones and road closures.
As people gathered their belongings and fled their homes Tuesday, emergency responders hosed down anyone who came in contact with the floodwater, which is coursing with gasoline, sewage, oil and other chemicals.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District has set up six sites for people to pick up sandbags, and the agency noted that there are 18 additional stations managed by local cities.
The American Red Cross put out a call for volunteers who want to help evacuate and relocate people throughout the city. The nonprofit’s South Bay office is located at 2731 N. First St., in San Jose. The Red Cross phone number is 877.727.6771.