The Latest: Some San Jose evacuees allowed to return home

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2017 8:01 PM
The Latest: Some San Jose evacuees allowed to return home

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on storms in California (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

San Jose officials say some residents will be allowed to return home Wednesday after being abruptly evacuated when a swollen creek flooded into residential areas.

Assistant Fire Chief Robert Sapien says water has started receding in some places.

He says an evacuation order remains for parts of the city and water will have to be pumped out of some mobile home parks.

Sapien said he doesn't know how many of the 14,000 people who were ordered to evacuate will be allowed to return home.

Officials are posting updated maps showing the evacuation areas.

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2:20 p.m.

Daniel Martinez, a 32-year-old yogurt shop manager, was asleep when police knocked on his door at 1 a.m. Wednesday to warn of a flood. They told him he could stay, but he might be stranded.

Martinez says he didn't think twice about what to do. He woke up his daughter, grabbed his medicine to treat his diabetes and hustled to an emergency evacuation center at a San Jose high school.

He says water levels hit his truck door as he made his way to the shelter.

He hadn't slept a wink, but was upbeat Wednesday. He says he is happy to be safe rather than sorry.

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2 p.m.

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.

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1:35 p.m.

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.

Early Wednesday, city officials expanded the area for mandatory evacuations to include about 14,000 residents.

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12:10 p.m.

Authorities have reopened U.S. 101 south of San Francisco after it was closed because of flooding.

The California Highway Patrol shut down the freeway early Wednesday when water spilled into a low point on the road.

The deep water covered the highway after Coyote Creek spilled over its banks and flooded areas in San Jose, California.

The city said floodwaters appeared to be subsiding after the city ordered 14,000 people to evacuate during the night.

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11:25 a.m.

Irma Gonzales says police woke her and her boyfriend by pounding on her apartment door in San Jose at 2:30 a.m. and ordered them to evacuate because of flooding.

Dazed, the 59-year-old Gonzales said Wednesday she only had time to grab a change of clothes and her two Chihuahuas.

She says the creek that runs next to her two-story apartment complex was the highest she's ever seen it and looked as if it was going to overflow at any moment.

She says firefighters yelled "hurry up" and "move it" until everyone was loaded in their car.

She called the experience "scary," but disagrees with some people who are angry about the lack of information leading up to the evacuation. She says she feels she was given good warning.

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11 a.m.

The mayor of San Jose, California, 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.

Some people said they got their first notice with a knock on their door from a firefighter in a boat.

Mayor Sam Liccardo said at a news conference that there is no question the city needs to improve communication in the future.

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9:55 a.m.

Forecasters say the water level in Coyote Creek in San Jose, California, reached a 100-year high during the storm this week

The raging floodwaters early Wednesday forced thousands of residents out of their homes and shut down a major freeway.

Weather service forecaster Bob Benjamin said the creek is subsiding and remains about half a foot above flood level.

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9:15 a.m.

Authorities have reopened two lanes of U.S. 101 south of San Francisco after it was closed because of flooding.

The California Highway Patrol closed all lanes in both directions at 4:40 a.m. Wednesday when water spilled into a low point on the freeway.

There is no estimate when the key commuter artery will fully reopen.

A San Jose, California, spokesman says floodwaters in the city appeared to be stabilizing after the city ordered 14,000 people to evacuate during the night. Another 22,000 people were advised to leave.

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8:40 a.m.

A San Jose, California, spokesman says floodwaters there appeared to be stabilizing Wednesday after the city ordered 14,000 people to evacuate overnight.

David Vossbrink says waters remain very high.

A few hundred people have showed up at shelters after the city ordered the evacuations when floodwaters inundated homes and forced the shutdown of U.S. Highway 101.

Sandy Moll tells the Mercury News ( http://bayareane.ws/2mcmIFD ) that she had prepared for about a foot of water, but no more. The force of the water from the creek behind her house broke down her back door.

Moll says she's angry at a lack of information given before evacuations were ordered. She says she is seething at the lack of warning.

At least 14,000 residents have been evacuated.

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5:30 a.m.

At least 14,000 residents have been evacuated from homes in San Jose, California, where floodwaters have inundated homes and forced the shutdown of a major freeway.

Officials say U.S. 101 is closed in both directions early Wednesday south of San Francisco because of water across lanes. There is no estimate when the key commuter artery will reopen.

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.

At least 225 residents were taken Tuesday to dry land and rinsed with soap and water to prevent them from being sickened by floodwaters that had traveled through engine fuel and garbage. No major injuries are reported.

The region is drying out after heavy rains, but flood warnings continue through Saturday morning.