Posted by on February 22, 2017
Categories: California

(BANT) – A mandatory evacuation order issued for hundreds of homes in the southern part of San Jose Tuesday due to flooding in Coyote Creek was expanded overnight to include the entire area along Coyote Creek, north of state Highway 237 and south of Interstate Highway 280.

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

“We haven’t had anything approaching this in 20 years,” Vossbrink said. “This one, by most accounts, is beyond anyone’s experience here in San Jose and Santa Clara County.”

At that point roughly 40 people had been evacuated to James Lick High School and residents are being told to shelter there until they can arrange more permanent accommodations, Vossbrink said.

Evacuees are also being sent to shelters set up at the Shirakawa Community Center at 2072 Lucretia Ave. and the Mayfair Community Center at 2039 Kammerer Ave.

People were being routed to the Roosevelt Community Center at 901 E. Santa Clara St., as well, until it was determined that it might be too close to Coyote Creek and could prove difficult to get to as the waters continue to rise.

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.

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.

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

Boat crews pulled five people from a flooded homeless encampment near the golf course and evacuated dozens of homes and businesses in the neighborhood near Kelley Park, according to San Jose fire spokesman Capt. Mitch Matlow.

“We have a neighborhood that’s basically underwater,” Matlow said.

City officials have declared a local emergency and also issued a call for voluntary evacuations of other neighborhoods along the creek, which traverses the length of the city from Morgan Hill to the San Francisco Bay.

“It’s an uncontrollable flow at this point,” Matlow said. “How much water we’re going to get here and how high it’s going to rise, we don’t know.”

People are being warned to stay away from standing water, avoid downed trees and power lines and to get out of any area where water appears to be rising.

Flooding is wreaking havoc on the region’s streets, as well, forcing the closure of northbound U.S. Highway 101 between Cochrane Road in Morgan Hill and the Bailey Road in San Jose since about 10:30 a.m., according to Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus.

The lanes aren’t expected to open to traffic again until 11 p.m. Wednesday, Haus said.