SAN JOSE (KRON) — Where did all the water rushing into San Jose’s neighborhoods come from? The short answer, Anderson Reservoir swamped Coyote Creek.
But why the flooding happened is still baffling experts in the South Bay.
Coyote Creek runs from Lake Anderson all the way to the San Francisco Bay. The creek which is actually the size of a river, stretches for more than 63 miles across low-lying areas of San Jose.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says the city failed to properly communicate with residents who were forced to evacuate their homes when floodwaters from a creek quickly spilled into streets during heavy rains.
City officials ordered more than 14,000 residents to leave their homes early Wednesday as water flooded homes and shut down a portion of a major freeway. Highway 101 has since reopened in both directions.
Some people said they got their first notice with a knock on their door from a firefighter in a boat.
Authorities went door-to-door overnight ordering thousands more people to seek higher ground as creeks and reservoirs overtopped their banks and sent chest-deep water into neighborhoods.
Mayor Liccardo said at a news conference that there is no question the city needs to improve communication in the future.
Anderson Reservoir has been nearing capacity since early January. Earlier this week the lake overflowed hitting 104 percent of capacity as you can see in the video.
During a briefing Wednesday morning city officials said they are not sure why Coyote Creek flooded.
Officials tell KRON4 News that there was not a levee breach but possibly an obstruction in Coyote Creek that has forced the floodwaters into homes and submerging vehicles.
San Jose city officials say they did not anticipate the level of flooding that submerged a neighborhood because their stream flow model showed the channel could handle the water without spilling over.
City spokesman David Vossbrink said Wednesday that officials were relying on the water district’s model to determine when the creek would rise and where.
Vossbrink says the model turned out to be inaccurate for Coyote Creek when the water rose early Wednesday.
Officials say the neighborhood that flooded was not among those expected to be hit first.
Water managers in a California community say they’re taking advantage of a break in storms to draw down water from behind a dam that is full, causing a creek to overflow and flood parts of San Jose.
Jim Fiedler of the Santa Clara Valley Water District said Wednesday that Anderson Dam is full. Releases over its spillway have flooded neighborhoods in San Jose.
The district is required to keep the dam 68 percent of capacity after inspections found that it could fail in a major earthquake.
Managers say it could take nine weeks to bring the water levels down to that level.
Fiedler says nearby residents aren’t in danger; the dam has withstood many quakes.
The district is spending $400 million to make it earthquake proof by 2024.
Below are a number of KRON4’s stories on Anderson Reservoir in January and February 2017: