San Jose streets flooded as more heavy rains wallop California

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 21, 2017 5:14 PM

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) - Waist-high floodwaters struck a neighborhood of San Jose on Tuesday after heavy rains drenched the state, causing a creek in the Northern California city to overflow, according to officials and local media.

The city of about 1 million people, a major hub of Silicon Valley south of San Francisco, on its website declared a local emergency as water overflowed Coyote Creek.

Spokesmen for San Jose and its fire department could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dirty brown water spread over several city blocks, lapping up against apartment buildings as rescuers in small boats ferried stranded residents to dry ground, according to footage from local television station KNTV.

The San Jose Fire Department on social media advised people caught in the floodwater to allow firefighters to decontaminate them because the waters contain pollutants. Water rose to the windshields of parked cars.

Firefighters in an inflatable boat paddled through a flooded golf course in San Jose on Tuesday to rescue five stranded homeless people, KNTV reported.

The latest in a series of rainstorms that struck Northern California on Sunday intensified on Monday then weakened on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Meteorologists described it as an "atmospheric river" bringing moisture from the Pacific Ocean.

This followed another major rainstorm that triggered a crisis last week at the Oroville Dam, more than 100 miles (160 km) northwest of San Francisco, when its spillways were damaged by rushing waters and more than 100,000 people down river were ordered to evacuate.

California is slowly recovering from five years of drought thanks to several months of wet weather.

The latest storm brought less rainfall to Northern California than a series of weather systems that battered the region in January but it triggered many flood warnings, said National Weather Service meteorologist Anna Schneider.

At least 3 inches (8 cm) of rain fell in many parts of the region, while some received far more, including more than 8 inches (20 cm) in the largely unpopulated Big Sur area and outside the city of Santa Rosa, according to the National Weather Service.

The next heavy storm is expected to hit Northern California this weekend, the National Weather Service said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by James Dalgleish)