miller avenue flooding christmas hill park uvas creek silva's crossing
These people take photos of the overflowing Uvas Creek at Christmas Hill Park on New Year’s Day. The creek topped Miller Avenue at Silva’s Crossing, prompting city officials to shut down the roadway. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

A formidable rain storm arrived in Gilroy this week, further drenching a region that was just beginning to dry out from heavy rains over New Year’s weekend. 

Authorities are advising residents, motorists and property owners to take precautions to avoid rain-related problems during the current storm, known as a “Pineapple Express” that is expected to bring heavy precipitation—at times of historical proportions—from Jan. 4-6, according to the National Weather Service. 

The entire Bay Area is under a flood watch as of Jan. 4, according to the NWS. An update earlier this week warned of a “threat to life likely during this storm.” Forecasters are predicting at least 2-3 inches to fall on San Jose, and a similar amount on Hollister during the current storm—with totals reaching 6-10 inches in hillside and coastal mountain areas. 

“To put it simply, this will likely be one of the most impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while,” shared a NWS meteorologist. “The impacts will include widespread flooding, roads washing out, hillside collapsing, trees down (potentially full groves), widespread power outages, immediate disruption to commerce, and the worst of all, likely loss of human life. This is truly a brutal system that we are looking at and needs to be taken seriously.”

This storm follows a New Year’s Weekend atmospheric river system that drenched the Bay Area and saturated the ground—further heightening the risk of mudslides from more rain. 

From Dec. 27-Jan. 1, nearly 4 inches of rain fell on Gilroy, according to the National Weather Service. The bulk of that precipitation occurred Dec. 30-Jan. 1, as the system lingered over the area, dumping rain for more than 24 hours nonstop. 

The weekend rainfall resulted in reports of flooding, mudslides and accidents throughout the Bay Area. 

Uvas Creek overflowed at Silva’s Crossing at Christmas Hill Park, prompting city officials to shut down Miller Avenue at Uvas Park Drive.

Residents and motorists are advised to never walk or drive through flooded roadways, and plan for high winds and power outages. Sandbags are available at the Gilroy Corporation Yard, 613 Old Gilroy St.

Valley Water, the local water district that manages flood safety and water supplies in Santa Clara County, said in a press release that it is activating its Emergency Operations Center this week in response to the forecast for Jan. 4-5. 

uvas reservoir
A walker and dogs take advantage of a lull between storms on Jan. 1 to stroll around Uvas Reservoir west of Morgan Hill. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

Uvas Reservoir in Morgan Hill exceeded its capacity and reached the spillway on Dec. 31, but receded in the following days. However, the reservoir was only five feet away from the “major flooding” stage before the Wednesday storm, according to Valley Water data.

Valley Water spokesperson Matt Keller said the water district is closely monitoring Uvas Reservoir and Creek, and added that flooding was possible on Highway 101 south of 10th Street in Gilroy, and around the Gilroy Sports Park.

Residents can report non-emergency flooding issues and downed trees to the Gilroy Police Department non-emergency number at 408.846.0350. For emergencies, call 911.

More tips on storm preparation are available at Valley Water’s website:

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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