Britton Middle School eighth graders Emily Lopez and Marcus Chambless took home a blue ribbon Dec. 13 at the 2018 science fair.

Morgan Hill
’s rainfall levels have reached 20.20 in., 5 in. above
Splish, splash, Morgan Hill’s taking a bath.

After a season of gentle, intermittent rain, Tuesday’s storm was a deluge, letting loose 1.3 inches. Still, though the series of storms that began on March 18 dropped more than 3 inches of rain on South County, there was little flooding or damage to Morgan Hill and little to Gilroy.

But, forecasters say the area is not out of the woods yet, with rain expected late Sunday and possibly into Monday.

Rainfall from the Monday-Wednesday storm has pushed Morgan Hill’s seasonal total to 20.20 inches and Gilroy’s total to 25.43 inches, about five inches above average for each town.

In Morgan Hill, there were some minor flooding problems early Tuesday morning after a night of occasional heavy rainfall but nothing that caused roads to be closed, said Jim Ashcraft, public works director.

“We had no big flooding problems related to the storm, but we were out driving around making sure,” Ashcraft said.

One continuing trouble spot is near corner of Mission View and Peet Road, off Cochrane Road.

“We keep signs out saying ‘Roadway Flooded’ and same across from the Inn at Morgan Hill on Tennant,” Ashcraft said. The Peet Road problem is complicated because the problem area is in the city and the county.

“We’re grading the pond areas so will drain away from the road,” he said.

Most reservoirs in the South County were above capacity or close, with Anderson, the largest at 90,373-acre-feet, filled to 98.3 capacity. An acre foot is the amount of water that would fill a one-acre field to a depth of one foot, about 326,000 gallons, or enough to serve a family of five for a year, according to the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which manages the county’s streams and reservoirs. Chesboro and Uvas Reservoirs were above capacity, at almost 102 percent capacity. Coyote was at 78.2 percent of capacity.

Uvas reservoir began spilling early Tuesday morning, sending about 32.5 million gallons an hour rushing into Uvas Creek. That’s enough water for 200 families for an entire year. Chesbro was spilling about 5.5 million gallons an hour into Llagas Creek. Water district Spokesman Mike DiMarco said it was possible that three North County reservoirs would soon spill as well.

The district eased pressure on Anderson and Calero reservoirs Tuesday by funneling water to water treatment plants. In addition to increasing reservoir capacity, that strategy allows the district to save money.

“Runoff is much cheaper than imported water,” DiMarco said. “It’s free. And not having to activate Pacheco Pumping Plant or the South Bay Aqueduct saves enough energy to power 2,000 or 3,000 homes. What we try to do with the reservoirs at the end of the rainy season is keep them full, but with enough capacity to catch runoff and take pressure off the creeks below.”

DiMarco said South County creeks are not in danger of flooding from this storm. It has not rained hard or long enough to cause major worries for farmers, Santa Clara County Agriculture Commissioner Greg Van Wassenhove said.

“Guys are getting their fields ready for summer planting, and they’re getting delayed, but that’s not a big deal,” he said. “This is great for pasture and range land.”

The National Weather Service reported that Morgan Hill can look forward to sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s through the weekend. Sunshine on Thursday and Friday allowed the ground to dry out somewhat and ready itself for more rain expected Sunday night and Monday.

One benefit of the extra rain is a bumper crop of wildflowers, to be found in the back country, along roadsides from border to border.

Matt King covers Santa Clara County for The Dispatch. Reach him at 847-7240 or [email protected].

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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