High waters plague East Bay residents

October 13, 2009 6:34:17 PM PDT
In Antioch, rising flood water forced some residents to voluntarily evacuate their apartments.

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By 5 p.m., things had calmed down quite a bit since earlier Tuesday afternoon, but water levels were still extremely high in some parts and a number of streets in the area remained closed. Residents of one apartment building remained voluntarily evacuated and authorities said all they could do was wait for the rain to come to a stop.

"Well, I didn't want to swim. I had to wait it out, so I'm wet," Del Smith of Antioch told ABC7.

Minutes after Smith got stranded his 1984 Cadillac sat alone in the middle of the road. Firefighters helped pull him out after he called 911 when water reached the car's windows.

"It appeared to be black ice. It looked like pavement. The water was running. I couldn't tell where it was flooded," he recalled.

Heavy rains closed about six square blocks in Antioch, but even the road barricades were not enough to stop some drivers from trying, many unsuccessfully, to pass through.

"I didn't see no block," one man told ABC7 as he sat in his car.

Sand bags were used at some apartments in Antioch but they were not enough to keep first-floor units dry. When they flooded, police asked residents to voluntarily evacuate and most did. People living on the second floor were able to stay dry.

"We knew it was going to happen because the canal was already clogged up," said Rick DiMarco.

The nearby canal was clogged. So were storm drains in the neighborhood. Residents there lost power and Rob Blanchard spent the afternoon dealing with the conditions.

It was not the first time.

"It's every year. Every year this happens. This overflows," he said, talking about a nearby creek.

Police say the water in Antioch reached its peak around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon. At some places water was knee high and even up to car windows. Power has been restored in Antioch. Police say that anyone who still needs to pick up sand bags should got the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds.

FULL STORM COVERAGE:

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