California storms: thousands evacuated over flood risk

On Tuesday, San Jose firefighters rescued more than 200 residents by boat in flood waters in the Rockspring neighborhood at Senter and Phelan.

Meteorologists placed part of the blame on atmospheric rivers - ribbons of water vapour extending thousands of miles from the tropics to the western US.

Authorities issued an evacuation advisory along a seven-mile (11 kilometer) stretch of Coyote Creek on Tuesday, stretching from around downtown to near the San Francisco Bay. The reservoir was near its capacity elevation of 830 feet, and sending the extra water coursing down the Tuolumne River was expected to swell it to 5 feet above flood stage downstream in Modesto by Tuesday.

"We have in San Jose some very exhausted first responders", Liccardo said at the conference, thanking the fire crews and police working multiple overtime shifts to evacuate the affected neighborhoods. VIDEO: Rescues underway in Nordale neighborhood, San Jose "Run out try to get my wife and my kid out". Mitch Matlow said, "This is not clean swimming pool water". ABC7 cameras were rolling when Nguyen's wife and son were rescued by fire officials.

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City officials urged residents to leave their homes before the flooding got worse.

They are not intended as overnight shelters, but they will remain open as drop-in centers overnight. Water and snacks are available. "It could be sewage coming up from the sewer pipes...it could be gasoline or motor oil from cars that are now underwater".

The floodwaters also caused a miles long traffic jam, closing lanes of US 101. "Our vehicle is here and we didn't know this was happening", Sharma said.

An estimated 225 people were pulled from their homes in boats while thousands of other residents in the city's flood zone were ordered to evacuate.

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The San Jose region is enjoying a brief break in the wet weather, but flood risks still persist.

A series of storms in the South Bay, combined with runoff from nearby hills and water spilling from the Anderson Reservoir has overwhelmed Coyote Creek, triggering a swift-moving torrent of water to flow right through the golf course. "They're just much more aware of it", Gass said.

Rescue crews waded through waist deep water to save those stranded at a homeless encampment along the Coyote Creek river, including two who were inside a tent on the third hole tee box.

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