Santa Clara Valley Water District holds special San Jose flood meeting

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
This is an undated image of documents related to the San Jose flood response. Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2017.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- There's one point of agreement; San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Water District don't want to see another flood disaster like the one that unfolded the morning on Feb. 21.

That's the day that a series of storms caused the Coyote Creek to spill over its banks, flooding basements in one San Jose neighborhood, inundating mobile home parks, and requiring rescue teams on boats to do an emergency evacuation of hundreds of Rock Springs neighborhood residents.

ABC7 News stayed live on TV that morning for 90 minutes, showing dramatic, live video of shocked residents in boats, some in wheelchairs and others clutching a bag or two of their possessions, as flood waters rose above the rooftops of parked cars on Nordale Avenue near Senter Road.

However, in an exchange of letters sent Tuesday, Mayor Sam Liccardo and Water District Board Chair John Varela both indicate a desire to focus on solutions, but a disagreement persists over the lack of a mandatory evacuation order.

The city says it was provided flawed data from the Water District, while the Water District says flood warnings were issued.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is holding a special Board of Directors meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday, which Mayor Liccardo plans to attend, along with Dave Sykes, who was the acting emergency services director at the time.

The first item on the agenda is an 80-page PowerPoint presentation representing the Water District staff's flood report.

The public will also have the opportunity to speak. ABC7 News will be covering the meeting.

The first page of the presentation reads, "Those impacted by the recent flood deserve nothing less than our full commitment to improve our ability to prevent, prepare for and respond to flood emergencies."

Valley Water's presentation also details some key lessons learned: that technical data were misunderstood and/or discounted by others, district and San Jose need to be better partners on reducing flood risk, emergency action plans with cities with high risk of flooding must be improved, and the district's procedures and training, including communications, must improve.

Mayor Liccardo is anticipating he will speak at 3 p.m.

David Louie will have the latest on this developing story starting at 5 p.m. on ABC7 News.

Click here to watch live at 5 p.m. and click here to follow him for updates on Twitter.