In preparation for a series of winter storms, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has stocked up on sandbags and is monitoring local rivers and creeks for debris blockages.
A year after the Anderson Reservoir spilled and caused Coyote Creek to flood several local neighborhoods, local agencies are taking greater precautions to prepare the public. Although, officials from the water district—the region’s leading flood protection agency—say they don’t expect a flood this season.
“After a dismally dry February, March has come in like a lion,” Dick Santos, the water district’s board chair, said on Thursday. “Rain and snow have fallen in the mountains surrounding Santa Clara Valley, and the forecast shows several more storms on the way. While unanticipated stream or storm drain blockages could always cause localized flooding during a rainstorm, we do not currently anticipate any creek flooding issues.”
Last year, the city of San Jose came under fire for failing to notify residents ahead of time about the flood. And the water district was criticized for providing the city with faulty data about the levels at which certain parts of Coyote Creek were prone to flooding.
This year, the agencies have hosted emergency preparedness workshops and public hearings to update people about flood protection projects underway. They’ve also sent out several emails and notices alerting people about where to pick up sandbags and urging them to report obstructions in the creeks to prevent flooding.
“Our maintenance staff stands ready with heavy equipment to respond to reports of downed trees or large debris flows in locations where we have property rights,” Santos said on Thursday. “We are monitoring streams for blockages at key bridges and culverts. We need the public’s help as our eyes and ears to alert us to obstructions in the creeks and to prevent flooding.”
As of Thursday morning, the water district said that its 10 reservoirs were collectively just 26 percent full. That leaves enough room to capture the deluge from the coming storms—with the exception of the relatively small Vasona Reservoir in Los Gatos, which regularly fills up during rainy seasons.
PG&E is also warning residents that the rainstorms could cause power outages this week, with the National Weather Service issuing a wind advisory for the Bay Area in anticipation of winds exceeding 35 mph.