Batten down the hatches … rain, rain

Karina Johnson checks to make sure her car is unharmed after a

The first of several storms dropped nearly one-third of an inch
of water over Gilroy this weekend and the Santa Clara Valley Water
District is bracing for potential flooding.
The first of several storms dropped nearly one-third of an inch of water over Gilroy this weekend and the Santa Clara Valley Water District is bracing for potential flooding.

Gilroy received only 0.26 inches over the weekend, but the city is expected to receive four to six inches by the week’s end. The National Weather Service said residents should prepare for potential flooding, noting that this could be the largest series of storms to hit California in several years.

“It’s definitely not something to be taken lightly,” National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin said.

Wet weather is expected to last through Friday with a few breaks, according to the National Weather Service. Lows are expected to be in the 40s and highs should be in the 50s. It is hard to predict wind speeds, but they could be 20 to 30 mph, Benjamin said.

Rainfall is expected to range from four to eight inches in low-lying areas to 10 to 15 inches in the mountains. Some areas could receive as much as 20 inches, Benjamin said. That amount of rainfall could be the largest the state has seen since flooding in 1998, he said.

“The storm systems are basically lined up across the Pacific,” he said.

The first of those storms struck late Sunday evening and lasted through Monday.

A second storm is expected to start this afternoon and run through Wednesday. That could be the heaviest storm, Benjamin said.

Yet another storm will likely strike Wednesday through Thursday, and more storms could come throughout the week.

That amount of rain potentially could lead to flooding, Benjamin said.

As a result, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is gearing up, with crews ready to respond to hot spots, such as Llagas Creek, district spokeswoman Susan Siravo said.

“We’re ready for the storm,” she said.

The district removed vegetation from creeks and took other various measures to prevent waterways from becoming clogged, she said. As of Monday afternoon, the district did not have to respond to flooding problems, she said. However, she said the district may see some flooding Wednesday. Trees tend to start falling once the ground is saturated and winds pick up, she said.

The City of Gilroy received no reports of downed trees, power failures or flooding in Gilroy as of Monday afternoon, according to an emergency dispatcher.

However, puddles started to well up along the curbs of several streets, and occasionally stretched out toward the middle of the road. A few fallen branches also littered the streets of residential neighborhoods.

The stormy weather led some area residents to rearrange their plans. Aromas resident Charlene Rich, shopping Monday at Nob Hill Foods, canceled a trip down to Los Angeles to see the San Jose Sharks because of the storms, she said.

Another Nob Hill shopper, Clarence Martinez of Gilroy, waited for a dry spell on Monday to go to the grocery store, he said. The rain was pouring when he went to Target and Wal-Mart earlier that morning.

“I’m staying indoors,” Martinez said.

On a brighter note, the upcoming storms will improve the water supply for the district, which provides water for both municipalities and farms in Santa Clara County. The district’s reservoirs were at 41.8 percent of capacity at 70,668 acre-feet as of Monday morning. An acre-foot is about one foot of water over a plane the size of a football field.

“We’re really expecting a boost to water supply,” Siravo said.

Siravo noted that the water district receives half of its supply from state and federal water projects, which have severely curtailed water supply allocations for its contractors this year.

Leave your comments