Residents still haven't returned after flood

October 14, 2009 7:25:12 PM PDT
On Tuesday night, an apartment building flooded in Morgan Hill, sending 24 people to a Red Cross shelter. They're still not back home. It turns out the cause of this flood has been an ongoing problem, affecting much more than just this apartment complex.

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The world has seen bigger, nastier, and more famous floods than the one that forced residents from an apartment home in Morgan Hill on Tuesday. However, for the 24 people who lived there and went to a Red Cross shelter, it remains the flood of a lifetime, unless it's the second flood of a lifetime.

"Now, in two years, two times," said Morgan Hill resident Manuel Hernandez.

For Hernandez, it has actually been three times in three decades. He and his neighbors have suffered large losses from water swelling out of nearby Llagas Creek.

When asked if he thought so much water could come from such a small creek, tow truck driver Jesse Lares replied, "No, it has happened before, though. It's not the first time."

Most of the year, residents describe Llagas Creek as bone dry. It was certainly that way before the storm, but then rain began falling at the rate of an inch an hour.

More than this apartment house, water forced closure of a Mexican restaurant, flooded cars, and turned an auto parts store into an island.

Dominic Portrera, from Car Quest Auto Parts, described the water level as being, "About waist high."

Storm drains clogged, all the water backed up, and now there is frustration because the city and Santa Clara Valley Water District have wanted to fix the twelve miles of creek since 1959.

"The project has been approved by Congress, but the actually funding to back it up has come in trickles," says Karl Bjarke, with the Morgan Hill Public Works Department.

Bjarke showed ABC7 a brochure which included pictures of this very same neighborhood the last time it flooded. Morgan Hill and the water district have agreed to spend $7 million on a plan, but the project will cost $100 million.

"We could use some help," says Bjarke.

Help appears to be in shorter supply than flood water, around Morgan Hill, these days.

FULL STORM COVERAGE:

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