South Valley dams spill

Issac Perez, 12, lends a helping hand to John Hogue, 13, as they

Gilroy
– Splish, splash, Gilroy’s taking a bath.
Nearly two inches of rain fell in town between 9am Monday and
long about Tuesday afternoon, felling a tree, clogging sewers and
storm drains and causing some minor flooding, but by press time
there were no reports of major accidents or injuries.
Gilroy – Splish, splash, Gilroy’s taking a bath.

Nearly two inches of rain fell in town between 9am Monday and long about Tuesday afternoon, felling a tree, clogging sewers and storm drains and causing some minor flooding, but by press time there were no reports of major accidents or injuries.

“It was the usual, nothing major,” said Gilroy Fire Department Capt. Joshua Valverde. “We had traffic violations and the [police department] went out to chase off kids who were playing in sloughs.”

Uvas reservoir began spilling early Tuesday morning, sending about 32.5 million gallons an hour rushing into Uvas Creek. That’s enough water for 200 families for an entire year. Chesbro was spilling about 5.5 million gallons an hour into Llagas Creek. Santa Clara Valley Water District Spokesman Mike DiMarco said it was possible that three North County reservoirs would soon spill as well.

The district eased pressure on Anderson and Calero reservoirs Tuesday by funneling water to sewage treatment plants. In addition to increasing reservoir capacity, that strategy allows the district to save money.

“Runoff is much cheaper than imported water,” DiMarco said. “It’s free. And not having to activate Pacheco Pumping Plant or the South Bay Aqueduct saves enough energy to power 2,000 or 3,000 homes. What we try to do with the reservoirs at the end of the rainy season is keep them full, but with enough capacity to catch runoff and take pressure off the creeks below.”

Gilroy Operations Manager Carla Ruigh said Tuesday that water collected on Santa Teresa Boulevard due to slow drainage, but said city streets were generally in good condition.

“The good thing is that we’re not in leaf season so storm drains are running clear and that’s helping prevent street flooding,” she said.

Gilroy did close down Silva’s Crossing, a stretch of Miller Avenue at Christmas Hill Park.

“That’s usually the first sign that Uvas Reservoir is overspilling or releasing,” Valverde said.

Tuesday night, approximately 469 Pacific Gas and Electric customers at Hecker Pass and Burchell Road found themselves without power, not because of the weather, but due to damaged equipment.

“We have what is called an open-jumper, which is basically a switch failure,” PG&E spokesman Jonathan Franks said. He added that crews were working on the problem Tuesday night and all power should be restored by morning.

In Morgan Hill, there were some minor flooding problems early Tuesday morning after a night of occasional heavy rainfall.

Water was backed up into the intersections of Monterey and Watsonville roads, Hill Road and Dunne Avenue, Mission View and Condit Road and Hale and Main avenues.

City crews were out for most of the night clearing drains that caused backups. No roads were closed.

DiMarco said South County creeks are not in danger of flooding from this storm.

The National Weather Service reported Tuesday that the worst of the rain would dissipate by today, though there may be showers and thunderstorms. Meteorologist Wendy Sellers, with the National Weather Service, said that spotty rain would likely continue through the end of the week, but Gilroyans can look forward to sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s by the weekend.

It has not rained hard or long enough to cause major worries for farmers, Santa Clara County Agriculture Commissioner Greg Van Wassenhove said.

“Guys are getting their fields ready for summer planting, and they’re getting delayed, but that’s not a big deal,” he said. “This is great for pasture and range land.”

The rainfall of the last two days has pushed Gilroy’s seasonal total to 25.43 inches, about five inches above average.

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