SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — An evacuation order was lifted for San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood Thursday morning, just hours after police and firefighters went door-to-door telling residents they needed to leave.
After round two of the atmospheric river brought heavy rainfall to the South Bay, San Jose residents managed to dodge a bullet Thursday morning.
Crews stationed at the Alma Avenue bridge became alarmed as the Guadalupe River rose to 8.81 feet, slightly above flood stage.
City officials issued the alert at 4:21 a.m.
“It is urgent and important to evacuate to the homes of family or friends, or to San Jose’s designated evacuation center at Willow Glen Community Center, 2175 Lincoln Avenue,” the alert said.
Some 800 residents who live between Willow Glen Way and Atlanta Avenue were advised to leave their homes with important documents, medicines and spare clothes.
“We don’t anyone to be too alarmed, but we want them to be prepared,” said city spokeswoman Rosario Neaves.
San Jose police fanned out to knock on doors. Laura, who lives in the Willow Glen Creek condos, packed up a few items and was ready to go.
“You never know what can happen here. This is up a little higher. So it’s going to have to really flood to get to these buildings,” said Laura.
Neighbor Sharlene Mello was bombarded with warnings throughout the night.
“I had somebody from the flood district at my door at midnight. I had phone calls and cell phones and house phones periodically during the night,” said Mello. “I had the police at my door at 5:20 or so. So I didn’t get a lot of sleep, but it was good. I appreciated the warning.”
But by 5 a.m., it appeared that the river level had peaked.
Shortly before 7 a.m., the evacuation order was lifted, after the river crested and forecasters predicted the river would continue to recede as the day continued.
Back in 2017, massive amounts of debris in Coyote Creek clogged up the flow, causing it to spill into the Rock Springs neighborhood and Naglee Park.
The city and water district came under fire for not warning residents early enough.
This time around, there was no shortage of warnings. Kelly Woodward, who lives more than a mile away from the evacuation area, got multiple phone alerts.
Officials have spent the past two years clearing debris out of the creeks and rivers, and beefed up communications systems to anyone living in the path of forecasted floods.
San Jose city officials said they will continue to err on the side of caution.
“We are not going to slack it off,” said Elisabeth Handler, public information officer for San Jose’s Office of Economic Development. “This is the new normal.”