Housing / Land Use

Pacheco Creek rise Sunday prompts another flood warning, evacuation order

Pacheco Creek near Dunneville had surpassed the 12-foot flood stage by early Sunday afternoon, with more flooding expected

Even though rain had tapered off in parts of San Benito County by the late morning and early afternoon on Sunday, Pacheco Creek through the flood-ravaged Lovers Lane area continued to rise, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning for the area, along with southeastern Santa Clara County. The San Benito County Office of Emergency Services also issued a voluntary evacuation order for the area, as the creek was expected to rise to levels similar to those seen during the last round of flooding on Friday, Jan. 20.

An evacuation center was being set up at the Veterans' Hall at 649 San Benito St. in downtown Hollister.

San Benito County Search and Rescue teams planned to go door-to0door to notify residents of this evacuation, according to Louie Valdez, Office of Emergency Services public information officer.

At 12:33 p.m., the weather service reported that gauges indicated that heavy rain was falling across the warned area and that "Pacheco Creek near Dunneville has surpassed the 12 foot flood stage level and is continuing to rise rapidly. Flash flooding is already occurring."

Locations that will experience flooding, the NWS said, include northern Hollister, Soap/San Felipe Lake, Frazier Lake area, and Lovers Lane.

The warning included the reminders to "Turn around, don't drown when encountering flooded roads. 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."

For more information, call Valdez at at 520-331-2856.

Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.