The ongoing major flooding caused by the overfull Anderson Reservoir and consequently Coyote Creek in San Jose led to a series of evacuation orders and advisories in Tuesday night, expanding to include approximately 50,000 residents in several neighborhoods along the creek north of 280 and south of 237, as CBS 5 reports. Boat rescues were being conducted all day Tuesday for residents trapped by high waters, particularly in the Rock Springs neighborhood, as shown in video from KRON 4 below. And the inundation of San Jose has now made international headlines, with the BBC picking up the story this morning.
Many residents were caught by surprise by the flooding and could not prepare, and things are further complicated by shelters that are not accepting pets though the San Jose Animal Shelter is taking in pets for safe keeping.
Flooding on Highway 101 led to the complete closure of the highway Wednesday morning, as KRON 4 shows us, with the road closed in both directions between Interstate 880 and the Interstate 680/280 split. One northbound lane was ultimately reopened, but there's no estimate on when the roadway will be fully reopened.
According to ABC 7, 14,000 people live in the mandatory evacuation zone, and another 36,000 have been advised to evacuate to the homes of family or friends. And the station reports that 346 of those people have had to be rescued by boat, 96 of them overnight on Tuesday.
Furthermore, people who have been wading through flood waters need to be decontaminated by the fire department. Per ABC 7, "Anyone who has come into contact with the murky brown water is being decontaminated because of fears about overflowing sewage lines, oil and gas from vehicles trapped in the water or household chemicals that might have leaked into the flood waters."
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told the station that "There seems to have been a unique breach of some sort, and obviously that's something we're going to be sorting out in the days ahead." He added, "Our focus right now is on ensuring that these residents are safe."
San Jose Fire Department Capt. Mitch Matlow, who's been with the department 35 years, tells NBC Bay Area, "This is the worst flooding and water rescue situation that I have personally participated in."
The floods impacted mobile home parks, and on Tuesday led to the rescue of residents of a homeless encampment along the banks of Coyote Creek which was completely submerged.
As the Mercury-News explains, the evacuation orders now impact the entire 100-year flood zone, and this all appears to have been caused by releases of water from the overflowing Anderson Reservoir in Morgan Hill, which began with the opening of the dam's spillway on Saturday. The spillway had not been put into use in 11 years, and releases from it funnel down into Coyote Creek.
Mayor Liccardo tells the Merc, "As I sit here today and look at a neighborhood that is completely inundated with water where we have fire crews doing whatever they can to get people out, there’s no question in my mind there was a failure of some kind. We’ll have plenty of time for ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ in the days ahead."