Homes, highway hit by major flooding in Gilroy through height of evening commute

Amanda del Castillo Image
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Homes, highway in Gilroy hit by major flooding
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Parts of Highway 101 south of Gilroy were closed following a major storm that swept through the Bay Area, causing massive traffic delays.

GILROY, Calif. (KGO) -- Parts of Highway 101 south of Gilroy were closed and an evacuation warning was issued for some areas in Santa Clara County following a major storm on Monday, police said.

SKY7 video shows homes and highways flooded as drivers are doing what they're warned by officials not to do, driving through floodwaters.

MORE: Bay Area storm live updates: Evacuations, flooding and road closures being reported across region

Police said southbound lanes at Mesa Road are closed.

Bolsa Road is also flooding between Travel Park Circle and Carnadero Avenue, police said.

Motorists are asked to avoid the area and use alternate routes.

Evacuation warnings were issued early Monday around 3 p.m. for residents living in the areas of Highway 101 and Bolsa Road due to flooding and other severe weather impacts.

The areas include:

  • South of Hwy 152, East of Hwy 101.
  • South of Pacheco Pass (Hwy 152) and East of Hwy 101.
  • South of Luchessa Ave. and East of Thomas Rd.
  • East of Santa Teresa Blvd. to Castro Valley Rd.
  • North of Castro Valley Rd. to Luchessa Ave.
  • North of Hwy 25 between Hwy 101 & Bloomfield Rd.
  • West of Bloomfield Ave. between Hwy 25 & Pacheco Pass (Hwy 152)
  • East of Hwy 101 to Pacheco Pass (Hwy 152)

County officials encouraged residents to stay off the roads, creek beds, waterways and fast-moving waters. For more information on the winter storm event, please go to the county's website.

At 5:30 p.m., the City of Gilroy said the following roads remain closed or experiencing flooding:

  • 101 South of Monterey Road
  • Northbound-one lane is open, all southbound lanes are closed. Closure anticipated through at least 6 p.m. For updates, visit here.

  • Castro Valley Road
  • Mesa Road
  • Miller Avenue at Silva's Crossing
  • The City of Gilroy said drivers need to avoid Silva's Crossing and the Christmas Hill Park area due to high flood waters and dangerous conditions.

    The following roads are now open to traffic:

  • Bolsa Road (traffic is backed up and slow)
  • Wren Avenue
  • Mantelli Road
  • Burchell Road
  • As of 6:15 p.m., ABC7's Amanda del Castillo said the southbound direction of Highway 101 reopened.

    Caltrans tweeted at 7:41 p.m., all lanes of Highway 101 in Gilroy have reopened. The northbound and southbound lanes were closed following major flooding on the highway and homes flooding.

    The hours-long closure moved traffic onto Gilroy streets and other South Bay thoroughfares into rush hour, taking drivers hours to navigate.

    "I left San Jose about 3:30 p.m.," Hollister resident, Leslie McCullough said. "So I got hit on Uvas, had to turn around. Then Chesebrough and then turned around. And then hit on Bailey and had to turn around."

    "It's crazy," Hollister resident, Lee Doughty told ABC7 News. "It's crazy! And we were checking the phone... it's closed everywhere!"

    Elsewhere in Gilroy, water from the Uvas Creek flooded parts of the Christmas Hill Park area.

    Valley Water's assistance CEO Melanie Richardson told reporters, "Uvas Reservoir is spilling now and that is probably contributing somewhat to that."

    The storm's aftermath was so impactful, Santa Clara County's Office of Emergency Management issued an evacuation warning for several of its communities, mentioned above.

    VIDEO: Drone video shows Felton underwater as Santa Cruz Mountains face flooding, mudslides, evacuations

    The hours-long traffic delay impacted drivers who depend on the highway to get home. Sacramento resident Shakhil Goundar said he was up against an empty tank of gas.

    "I took the exit, it was a flood - couldn't even get to a gas station," Goundar said. "Went to the second gas station, was a flood on that road as well. So thankfully, I made it here on time to get gas., Then I'm heading back to Sacramento."

    Salinas resident LaVonne Kinney was determined to make it south, with her livestock in mind.

    "I'm gonna try and get to Salinas tonight," she explained. "We got animals at home."

    McCullough from Hollister made the most of the traffic mess.

    VIDEO: Why is California still in a drought after all this rain? Experts explain

    "While I sat there and waited, I played a game of Mahjong and a couple games of Solitaire," she said.

    For Lee Doughty, his typical 20 minute drive to Hollister turned into an extended dinner.

    "I stopped into a Taco Bell, ate, and I sat there for hours," he said. "And now I'm gonna try the back way here. I think it's open... we'll find out."

    With more rain in the forecast, drivers told ABC7 News that Monday's experience was an example of flood risks officials have long warned about.

    "Well yeah, risk... sure," Doughty said. "But I've never seen it like this!"

    Kinney called it, "Horrendous."

    LIVE: Track rain in San Francisco Bay Area with Live Doppler 7

    RELATED: TAKE ACTION: Get help during extreme weather emergencies

    If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live