Powerful storm brings major flooding to San Jose, CA

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Rescuers chest-deep in water steered boats full of people, some with babies and pets, from a San Jose neighborhood inundated Tuesday by water from an overflowing creek.

More than 30 members of San Jose's Urban Search and Rescue Task Force pulled five people stranded at the golf course onto boats before dropping them on the bank of the fast-moving flood area.

San Jose police also ordered the evacuation of more than 300 Santa Clara County employees as offices for CalWORKS and In-Home Support System in South San Jose filled with water.

Around 200 were taken from their homes while more had to be rescued from their cars as water levels began to rise along the Coyote Creek in a neighborhood of Rock Springs in Silicon Valley. "It kept getting worse and worse", said Alex Hilario, who walked in knee-high water to get to his vehicle and leave.

At this stage, local officials are unsure when residents will be allowed back to their homes, as flood warnings are in place until Saturday. "They said it was going to flood a little, that's it, but they didn't tell us anything at all that this was going to happen", said Janet Martinez. Officials said they expected water levels to start receding around midnight, when they plan to start checking homes, buildings and city facilities for damage.

"We didn't get a chance to get anything out", Hilario added.

The gush of water inundating San Jose flowed down from the Anderson Reservoir, which was pushed to overflowing by a rainstorm that pounded Northern California from Sunday to Tuesday, officials said.

Another resident said the water rose fast. "We can move forward", said Bryan.

Thankfully no serious injuries have been reported so far.

Officials say the neighborhood that flooded was not among those expected to be hit first.

"Had we been made aware of the severity of what was coming our way, we would have done a whole lot more to get stuff out of our basement", she said. The region's waterways, already saturated by weeks of heavy rains, were ill-equipped for the latest onslaught.

Northern California has been pounded by a succession of storms that have poured heavy rain and snowfall on the formerly drought-stricken area.

Mayor Sam Liccardo said at a news conference that there is no question the city needs to improve communication in the future. You just have to hope for the best.

"We have a neighborhood here that's basically underwater", Capt. Mitch Matlow, a spokesman for the San Jose Fire Department, said at the scene. In addition to runoff from the harsh storms over the last week, Coyote Creek is an outlet for Anderson Lake, a reservoir that for the first time in 11 years, reached capacity.

"The rain will stop, but the effects of the rain will take days to subside", National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Oravec told USA TODAY.

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