Meanwhile, the worst flooding in a century in San Jose, CA has forced thousands out of their homes along the Coyote Creek.
Over the last two weeks, heavy rains pushed water levels at Santa Clara County’s largest reservoir into the danger zone, with officials warning it could overflow.
That happened over the weekend, sending massive amounts of water into the Coyote Creek, which runs through the heart of San Jose.
By Tuesday, the creek was overflowing at numerous locations, inundating neighborhoods, flooding hundreds of homes and forcing the frantic evacuations of more than 14,000 residents, who remained out of their homes Wednesday.
The worst flooding to hit Silicon Valley in a century left San Jose reeling and residents angry about why they were not given more warning that a disaster was imminent. Even city officials on Wednesday conceded they were caught off guard by the severity of the flooding and vowed a full investigation into what went wrong.
“If the first time a resident is aware that they need to get out of a home is when they see a firefighter in a boat, then clearly there has been a failure,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “There is no question that we’ll need to do things differently next time.”
Late Wednesday, Assistant City Manager Dave Sykes said officials had learned that the information they had on the capacity of Coyote Creek channel was not accurate. He also said the city was working with the Santa Clara Valley Water District to determine whether debris caused blockages that contributed to flooding.
“The creek spilled over the banks faster and higher than anybody expected,” said city spokesman David Vossbrink.
Residents told harrowing stories of water flowing into homes and flooding streets. Many had to be rescued by boat. Some said they were surprised they did not get urgent warnings about the extent of the flooding.
“They didn’t say it was going to go up as high as it did,” said Louis Silva, 48. He said that his possessions were swallowed up in the flood and that the city should have warned people about the scale of the disaster with a cellphone text alert or by knocking on doors.
“They should’ve put the footwork in to show the urgency of the situation,” Silva said. “It hurt everyone. ... When Mother Nature shows up, she shows up.”
Dawn Rogers, 47, said she was in the mandatory evacuation zone but decided to hunker down instead of leave. She watched as firefighters took a boat down the street to rescue residents in homes that were flooded.
By 1 p.m. Tuesday, residents were rushing to fill up their cars with priceless valuables.
“It was scary,” Rogers said. “Being in a drought for all these years, you don’t ever think you’re ever in danger of a flood.”
Remember, the problem with climate change isn't just long-term temperature increases, but the appearance of more extreme short-term weather events (like floods) and medium-term ones as well (like California's four-year drought) and the occurrence of these events more often and in a shorter time space. Going from a 100-year drought to a 100-year flood is a really, really good example of this.
Expect to see a lot more of this in the near future, especially with this regime in charge.