Flood fears renewed as California is pounded by storm
SAN FRANCISCO — Downpours swelled creeks and rivers Monday in Northern California, threatening to cause even more flooding in the already soggy region.
In the San Joaquin Valley, residents were patrolling levees for signs of danger, reviewing evacuation plans and filling hundreds of sand bags after the San Joaquin River kept rising.
“Our community is pulling together like real champs,” said San Joaquin River Club resident Paula Martin, who is helping coordinate emergency plans for the private neighborhood of 800 homes.
Martin said the neighborhood has sirens in a clubhouse and church that can warn residents of impending flooding.
The National Weather Service issued flood, snow and wind advisories, including a flash flood warning for the Soberanes burn area in Monterey County. Winds could reach 60 mph in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Santa Cruz County had seen 2.8 inches of rain in 24 hours and could see up to 8 inches before the storm passes Tuesday. Marin County got 2.3 inches of rain while close to an inch fell in San Francisco.
Forecasters said rainfall in San Francisco has already surpassed the normal annual amount for the wet season that begins in October.
The city has logged 24.50 inches of rain since Oct. 1, said National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin. The average rainfall for the year ending Sept. 30 is 23.65 inches.
The San Joaquin River was approaching the top of levees and could remain at that level for four days, said Tim Daly, a spokesman with the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services.
“When the water gets that high and more water is coming, there is just too much pressure and levees can break,” Daly said. “They can be topped.”
The Don Pedro reservoir, which captures water from the Tuolumne River, a key tributary of the San Joaquin. was at 97 percent capacity.
Elsewhere, high water was receding in the farm community of Maxwell, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, where dozens of people sought higher ground Friday after creeks topped their banks and inundated houses.
“We're not seeing anything like we did the other day,” said Colusa County Assistant Sheriff Jim Saso.
About 60 miles east, the water level also kept falling at Oroville Dam, where a damaged spillway had raised major flood concerns and prompted the evacuation of 188,000 people a week ago.