VIDEO: Mandatory evacuations expand in San Jose due to flooding, 36,000 families evacuated

 

SAN JOSE (KRON) — More than 36,000 families have evacuated their homes in San Jose since Coyote Creek flooded parts of the city on Tuesday, Mayor Sam Liccardo said at a news conference near one of the flooded areas Wednesday morning.

Mandatory evacuation orders in San Jose were expanded Wednesday due to severe flooding.

The area is along Coyote Creek, in the Coyote Creek 100 year flood zone plus about 250 feet, running from north of 280 to south of 101.

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Some 14,000 households are in the three mandatory evacuation areas, including almost 500 families from apartments in the Rock Springs neighborhood, the East William Street corridor including Brookwood Terrace and parts of Naglee Park and three mobile home parks along Oakland Road.

Residents are urged to leave their homes with only the most necessary items, including pets and medications, and head for the shelters as soon as possible.

Authorities went door-to-door overnight ordering thousands to seek higher ground as creeks and reservoirs overtopped their banks and sent chest-deep water into neighborhoods.

The region got a brief break from persistent downpours, but flood warnings were in place through Saturday because waterways were overtaxed.

At least 225 residents were taken to dry land Tuesday and rinsed with soap and water to prevent them from being sickened by floodwaters that had traveled through engine fuel, garbage, debris and over sewer lines, said Fire Captain Mitch Matlow. No major injuries were reported.

A firefighter was hurt rescuing family pets.

246 people were rescued in the Rock Springs area Tuesday. There were 200 more boat rescues in the Williams Street area Tuesday.

More than 400 people have been evacuated by boat and about 300 people are staying at two overnight shelters supported by the Red Cross and Salvation Army, according to the mayor.

Few mobile home parks in North San Jose needed to be pumped because water is not able to recede naturally.

Crews are working Wednesday evening to pump some of the floodwater back into the creek. Debris removal operations will start soon, Sykes said.

“We have in San Jose some very tired first responders,” Liccardo said at the conference, thanking the fire crews and police working multiple overtime shifts to evacuate the affected neighborhoods.

To community members wishing to donate to help the affected families, Liccardo said, “We do not need stuff. We do not need blankets and materials. What we need is money to help families recover.”

A map posted on the city website shows the areas south of East Santa Clara Street and west of South 23rd Street where homes have been cleared, Sykes said.

Those homes include those that have not had any flooding. Areas that have had flooding, which city spokesman David Vossbrink estimated to include fewer than 1,500 homes, are still under evacuation orders due to potentially contaminated water.

“The water is not safe. There is contamination in this water, and the contamination runs the gamut,” Liccardo said. “Obviously, we saw vehicles that were inundated in Rock Springs. That’s certainly fuel and oil, but also we’re concerned about any potential mixing with sewer as well.”

Drinking water is still clean throughout the city, according to the San Jose Water Company.

Flood victims need to decontaminate if they have come in contact with flood waters. Flood water could have vehicle gas, oil, pesticides, sewage backups, among other things in it.

Exposed people should wash off with soap and clean water.

Debris removal and blockage removal in Coyote Creek is a constant process.

Blockages would definitely impact crews’ ability to know how much water would come out of Coyote Creek, according to firefighters.

Firefighters are hopeful Anderson Reservoir recedes enough to handle the rain coming this weekend so more flooding doesn’t occur.

Some evacuated flood victims will get to go home Wednesday night.

“Bluntly, the water is receding, but we are far from out of this,” Liccardo said. “We are going to insist on continuing the evacuation period through Wednesday until we have a better handle on what’s happening with these water flows.”

“That’s not to say that all homes and properties are out of the floodwaters,” assistant city manager Dave Sykes said at a news conference.

Overnight shelters are open at:

James Lick High School, 57 N. White Rd and Evergreen Valley High School, 3300 Quimby Rd.

The evacuation center services at Mayfair and Shirakawa community centers are being discontinued Wednesday evening due to low traffic.

“We’re expanding the mandatory evacuation order to nearly all residents east of Coyote Creek but west of (U.S. Highway) 101,” except for the Bonita neighborhood, Mayor Sam Liccardo said on Twitter.

The order had initially been for roughly 300 homes, mostly apartments and townhomes, in the area around Kelley Park that since Wednesday morning have been suffering under about four feet of floodwater from the nearby creek, according to city spokesman David Vossbrink.

Crews are beginning the formal damage assessment process for reimbursement purposes and will continue to update the city website as streets reopen, Sykes said.

Persistent storms that have rolled into the region over the past weeks, combined with water rushing down the spillway of the Anderson Reservoir, which is now filled to capacity, are blamed for the flooding.

City officials are distributing a checklist for residents returning to flooded homes, which outlines the protocol for flood insurance claims, electrical systems, food, furnishings and carpets, walls and appliances.

Temperatures are expected to drop as low as the 30s tonight, posing what Sapien called “a new challenge for us from a weather perspective.

The creek began flooding areas around the Los Lagos Golf Course and near Kelley Park in South San Jose earlier Wednesday morning and fire rescue crews have had their hands full pulling stranded residents from their homes.

Those wishing to donate can access the San Jose Flood Victims Relief Fund on sjmayor.org, Liccardo said. The Silicon Valley Auto Dealers Association has contributed $100,000.

PG&E, the Knight Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Organization have also donated to the fund, the mayor said. Lyft is offering free rides to affected families.

Stay with KRON4 News for updates

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