Santa Clara County preps for more rain
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez urges residents to sign up for the county's emergency alert app on Jan. 12, 2023. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

    Santa Clara County is getting a brief break from the rain before storms return over the weekend, prompting officials to urge residents to prepare for emergencies.

    In a news conference today, county officials asked residents to sign up for the AlertSCC app, an alert and warning system for flooding, power outages, road closures and mudslides. Officials said more than one million people have signed up for alerts so far. 

    According to the National Weather Service, the county could see two to three inches of rain over the weekend. 

    Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said AlertSCC is the most efficient and effective way for residents to receive up-to-date emergency information. Alerts are sent directly to enrolled mobile devices, landlines or emails in English, Spanish or Vietnamese.

    “We’re really acknowledging that we’re in the middle of a crisis,” Chavez said. “There’s an opportunity for us to get the word out to remind people that there’s a way to further enhance your ability to keep yourself and your family safe.”

    Close to an inch of rain fell in San Jose Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service, with additional rainfall during the week impacting local reservoirs. Valley Water spokesperson Matt Keller said Almaden Reservoir, Uvas Reservoir and Coyote Lake are all above 100% of their respective capacities. The Lexington and Chesbro reservoirs are above 75%. Valley Water has released water from its reservoirs to avoid flooding, according to CEO Rick Callender, who noted the water district is also removing blockages from creeks.

    Santa Clara County Chief Operating Officer Greta Hansen advised people to take precautions, make emergency plans with their families, keep an emergency supply kit and have working flashlights in their cars and homes.

    “In an emergency, timely, accurate information is absolutely critical,” Hansen said, adding more extreme weather is expected in the days and weeks to come.

    Hansen said the county, city partners and community-based organizations are doing in-person outreach for homeless residents who can’t access the emergency app, suggesting they move to shelters or higher ground.

    Daniel Lazo, spokesperson for San Jose Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, said homeless residents living near creeks and rivers are particularly vulnerable during sustained storms due to the possibility of flooding. Lazo said the city has been speaking with homeless residents in areas at risk of flooding.

    “We want to make sure all residents are safe, whether they are unhoused or housed,” he told San José Spotlight. “We are advising folks not to return to the creeks… A flash flood can occur near creeks or rivers.”

    San Jose opened two 24-hour emergency evacuation centers for residents displaced by flooding at the Seven Trees and Camden community centers, in partnership with the Red Cross. Lazo said staffing and capacity has been expanded at existing overnight warming locations. About 116 people are currently at the Seven Trees center, 60 at Camden and 32 at Roosevelt Community Center, he said.

    “San Jose community centers are vital assets that provide residents with a safe place to go during all kinds of emergencies, including active storm advisories,” Lazo said.

    Lazo said warming centers in community center rooms are seeing low attendance as other facilities are open citywide. The Camden evacuation center is open 24-7 until Jan. 16, he said. Roosevelt, an overnight warming location, will continue to be open following the storms, he said, but requires referrals.

    Residents are encouraged to report fallen power lines to 911, then PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. To see which areas are impacted by outages visit pge.com/outages.

    To sign up for Santa Clara County’s emergency alert system, click here. To sign up for Valley Water’s alert system, click here.

    Residents can find free sandbags here. Residents can also report blockages in waterways and spills by calling Valley Water’s watershed hotline at 408-630-2378 or San Jose’s 311 line. 

    Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]

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