USA – More Record Rain in California, 1000s Evacuate Floods in San Jose (Updated)

Update

The mandatory evacuation area in San Jose has been expanded and now includes around 14,00 residents.  In a statement earlier today, the City said:

“Although the rain has largely stopped, flooding is continuing along Coyote Creek as reservoirs continue to spill and creek flow is extremely high. The area for mandatory evacuation has expanded and includes approximately 14,000 residents…”

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

Residents in the San Jose area should stay informed of events and can check regular updates here.


Original Report, 10:20 CET, 22 February 2017

Hundreds of residents in San José were evacuated yesterday, 21 February, after levels of the Coyote Creek rose rapidly following further heavy rainfall in California.

In Tuolumne County the heavy rain forced officials to open a spillway at the Don Pedro reservoir for the first time in 20 years.

The latest series of downpours swept across northern California from Sunday 19 February to Tuesday 22 February. The National Weather Service (NWS) said the storm had weakened on Tuesday but further heavy storms are expected to hit Northern California this weekend.

Venado in Sonoma County recorded more than 230 mm of rain in 72 hours. NWS said that daily rainfall records were broken in San Jose and San Francisco. Coyote Creek at Edenvale reached its highest ever level.

Evacuations in San José

The City of San José issued a mandatory evacuation notice for residents living near Coyote Creek.

“Due to current and continuing flooding, this is a Mandatory Evacuation Notice for the rectangular area north of E. William and south of Santa Clara streets for the homes on the creek side along South 17th Street to South 19th Street in San José. This message is being sent on Tuesday, February 21 at 8:45 PM.”

Rescuers used boats to evacuate residents trapped in their homes by flood water.

Late last night the City was particularly concerned about groups of homeless living along the banks of
Coyote Creek. In a statement the City said:

“The San José Housing Department conducted extensive outreach to alert people living outdoors along Coyote Creek about dangers associated with camping by the creek. The City has opened its four winter overnight warming centers as it regularly does during periods of cold and wet weather.”

Around 20 roads have been closed in the San José area as a result of the heavy rain and flooding.

Floods in San Jose area, 21 February 2017. Photo: San Jose Fire Dept / Twitter

River Levels

Coyote Creek at Edenvale reached its highest ever level of 14.4 feet at 18:00 on 21 February, 2017. The previous high was 12.8 feet set in 1922. Flood stage is 10 feet and major flood stage 14 feet.

Levels of Coyote Creek at Edenville. Image: NOAA

Coyote Creek also reached above flood stage at Madrone early on 21 February, 2017.

Levels of Coyote Creek at Madrone. Image: NOAA

Record Rainfall

At least two areas saw record rainfall during the storm. NWS said via Social Media:

“San Jose broke a daily rainfall record yesterday (Feb 20). 1.87″ of rain fell, breaking the previous record of 0.98″ set in 1914!”

San Francisco International Airport also set a new daily record for rainfall on 20 February, recording 2.16 inches, beating the previous high set in 1980 of 1.06 inches.

Rainfall records in San Jose and San Francisco. Image: NOAA

Rainfall Figures

Below are a few figures from NWS San Francisco CA for “72 Hour Storm Total Rainfall” from Saturday afternoon, 18 February, through Tuesday afternoon 21 February.

Marin County

  • Middle Peak Raws – 5.63 inches / 143 mm
  • Kentfield – 5.05 inches / 128.27 mm

Monterey County

  • Mining Ridge – 8.61 inches / 218.69 mm
  • Three Peaks – 8.03 inches / 203.96 mm
  • Anderson Peak – 7.48 inches / 189.99 mm

San Francisco County

  • Farallon Island – 5.19 inches / 131.83 mm

San Mateo County

  • Russian Ridge Open Space – 5.16 inches / 131.06 mm

Santa Clara County

  • 3 E Lexington Hills – 6.31 inches / 160.27 mm

Santa Cruz County

  • 1 SSE Boulder Creek – 7.25 inches / 184.15 mm
  • 4 WSW Monte Sereno – 6.26 inches / 159.00 mm

Sonoma County

  • Venado 7 Nnw Guerneville – 9.10 inches / 231.14 mm

Not all data listed are considered official.

Don Pedro Reservoir

Turlock Irrigation District (TID) officials opened a spillway at the Don Pedro reservoir for the first time in 20 years.

In a statement on 21 February, TID said:

“A single Controlled Spillway Gate remains open after being opened oat 3pm Monday. Current weather forecasts and inflows have TID maintaining releases to the Tuolumne River at approximately 16,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) although forecasted precipitation will affect future Reservoir operations.”

Ground is saturated in vast areas in of the state, particularly in northern and central parts, after several storms since January. California Emergency Management Officials surveyed river systems and flooded areas on Sunday, 19 February, 2017, producing this (raw) video footage.

Social Media – Floods in San Jose

Flood summary

Last updated: February 22, 2017
Event
San Francisco Bay Area and Sierra Nevada, Northern California, February 2017
Date
February 20 to February 22, 2017
Type
River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall, Long-term rainfall

Locations

A - San Jose (Detail below shows the approximate area of the mandatory evacuation order in San Jose)
B - Don Pedro reservoir

Affected Areas

Magnitude

River level
4.39 metres
Coyote Creek at Edenvale - February 21 to February 21, 2017
Coyote Creek at Edenvale reached its highest ever level of 14.4 feet at 18:00 on 21 February, 2017.
River level
3.67 metres
Coyote Creek at Madrone - February 21 to February 21, 2017

Damages

Evacuated
300 people
San Jose - February 20 to February 22, 2017