Water makes for hazardous driving conditions

Drivers frustrated by slow commute as flood waters continue to plague local roads and highways
mission rv flooding.jpg

A day after Presidents' Day rain and flood warnings, San Benito County commuters tried to get back to work Tuesday, but found it rough going on many local roadways.

San Benito County Sheriff's Capt. Eric Taylor told BenitoLink just before 10:30 a.m. that Fairview and Shore Roads remained closed from Highway 156 to Frazier Lake Road, and Lovers Lane and San Felipe roads remained off-limits following another overflow of storm-ravaged Pacheco Creek.

While Taylor said deputies are "trying to get some of these roads open," the process was slow because of the abundant rain on top of already saturated soils.

Hollister Police Chief David Westrick said he was out helping with sandbags near Dunneville on Monday night, with numerous road closures in the area. 

"It was a mess," he said.

Jim Ostdick, who lives in Mission Farm RV park just outside of San Juan Bautista west of Highway 156, reported that San Juan Creek flooded Mission Vineyard Road and pushed its way over the banks into a section of the RV park.

Numerous commuters posted their driving frustrations Tuesday morning, with some sharing pictures of traffic at a standstill on Highway 25, Union Road and elsewhere. Highway 101 through Morgan Hill was shut down late morning on Tuesday after a levee broke along Coyote Creek near Cochrane Road.

Emergency crews were summoned for water rescues on Shore and Lovers Lane roads late Monday night and Tuesday morning, helping drivers whose cars became stuck when they tried to make it through flooded roadways.

The National Weather Service on Tuesday extended a flood warning for northwestern San Benito County — focusing on the Lovers Lane/San Felipe Road area — until 8:30 p.m. after reporting gauges indicated continued flooding on the Pacheco Creek near Dunneville. At 11:20 a.m., the water level on the creek near Dunneville had dropped below 11 feet, which was still a foot above flood stage.

The creek level peaked near 17.7 late Monday night and was forecast to gradually recede through the remainder of the morning.

"Ponding of water across the floodplain will persist through the day, and for potentially several days," the NWS said, noting that Lovers Lane, Pacheco Creek floodplain, Soap/San Felipe Lake, Frazier Lake, and areas north of Hollister would continue to be impacted. 

For the latest forecast, click here.


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.