SAN FRANCISCO – Evacuations were ordered in Northern California on Monday and flash-flood warnings were issued elsewhere as downpours swelled creeks and rivers to potentially dangerous levels in the already soggy region.
A man struggles against gusty wind and heavy rain as he walks along a pier Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, in Huntington Beach, Calif. A major Pacific storm has unleashed downpours and fierce gusts on Southern California, triggering flash flood warnings and other problems. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A levee break along the San Joaquin River prompted an evacuation order for about 500 people living in mainly ranch and farmlands near Manteca, San Joaquin County authorities said.
The gap was filled and the leak halted Monday night but the evacuations and a flash flood warning remained in effect into Tuesday morning.
Crews worked Monday night to patch the breach, which followed an earlier warning that the river was approaching the top of levees and could remain at that level for four days.
In Monterey County, people living along a section of the Carmel River were told to leave, as were those in a neighbourhood of Salinas near Santa Rita Creek and a few people in rural Royal Oaks, where a mudslide encroached on a home.
In Lake County, northwest of Sacramento, about 100 homes in two mobile home parks and nearby streets were ordered evacuated because nearby Clear Lake was a foot above flood stage, county Sheriff Brian Martin said.
More homes could be placed under evacuation order along the 75-mile shoreline as the water slowly rises, Martin said.
“It’s very serious,” he said Monday night of the potential for flooding in an area that already has seen repeated downpours in recent weeks. “There’s going to be widespread property damage … our ground’s been saturated.”
No injuries were reported.
Rainfall with this weekends dumping rain may be the end of the D3 Z(red area) drought for California with Thursday's drought monitor. pic.twitter.com/rRv2nU1UUB
Meanwhile, about 2,000 people in the remote community of Spring Valley were blocked in because one of two entrance roads to the hamlet washed away and mudslides closed the other, Martin said.
“Our deputies are basically hiking in and hiking out,” Martin said.
Authorities hope to use a temporary bridge to reopen it in the next few days.
In Monterey County, the Sheriff’s Office sent rugged Humvees out to help with the evacuations.
The Carmel River, which has flooded several times in the past month, was expected to rise to nearly 11 feet by Tuesday, which would be a moderate flood stage, while the Salinas River near Spreckels could reach nearly to the moderate flood stage of 26 feet by Tuesday night, which could inundate the Monterey-Salinas Highway, the Monterey Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2kSYbU1).
The Big Sur River reached its moderate flood stage of 10 feet Monday morning and was expected to crest at 12 feet, the paper reported.
“The ground is saturated, and all rainfall at this point is increasing not only the pooling along the lower-lying elevations but also the river levels,” said Eric Ulwelling, a division chief with the Monterey County Regional Fire District.
Areas of the county received more than 1 1/2 inches of rain in 24 hours. The National Weather Service said heavy rain could persist into the evening as the latest in a serious of storms hovered over California’s northern and central areas, including the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley.
Weather watches and warnings were issued for nearly a dozen counties because of flooding concerns and gusty winds.