With more heavy rain falling in and around Hollister, the National Weather Service at 10:13 a.m. Monday issued a flash flood warning for northwestern San Benito County and southeastern Santa Clara County — including the flood-ravaged Lovers Lane and San Felipe Road areas, for which voluntary evacuations were issued. Earlier in the morning, a flash flood warning was posted through 2:45 p.m. Monday for areas near the San Benito River south of Paicines.
In the Lovers Lane area, stream gauge reports indicated “rapidly rising water levels on Pacheco Creek near Dunneville” at 10:07 a.m., according to the NWS statement. “Current water levels are at 8.09 feet. Because of prior levee breaches, flooding begins around 10 feet. The previously established flood stage is 12 feet. Streamflow forecasting suggests water levels may reach 19.2 feet by tonight around 10 p.m. local time.”
The weather service said that ponding of water on the floodplain may already be occurring and locations expected to receive flooding are Lovers Lane, Frazier Lake, Soap/San Felipe Lake, and lower Pacheco Creek north of Hollister.
A statement from the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office said residents of the Lovers Lane/San Felipe Road/Dunneville area north of Shore Road “should consider making plans for a voluntary evacuation of people, pets and livestock” as the creek is expected to reach at least 16 feet today. “This evacuation/planning should commence immediately,” the statement said.
The flood warning for the southern reaches of the county noted that water levels on the river were “rapidly rising…well above the established flood stage” of 10 feet. Just before 9 a.m., the river was at 11.18 feet and rising, according to the NWS. Flash flooding was expected to remain over mainly rural area of central San Benito County and impacts in that area were expected to be minor, according to the weather service, “unless local roadways are flooded, including Route 25 (Airline Highway).”
As has become common practice this winter, the NWS reminded residents to avoid flooded areas and “turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads,” as most flood deaths occur in vehicles.
A flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. If you are in the warned area move to higher ground immediately. Residents living along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property.
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