San Jose floods: City’s failure to raise alarm contrasts response to crisis at Oroville Dam

By : mercurynews – excerpt

When the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway began to crumble earlier this month, phones throughout the region started blasting with emergency alerts, even sending shoppers at the local Wal-Mart to abandon their carts and flee.

When Coyote Creek in San Jose burst over its banks just over a week later, the first warnings for many residents that floodwaters were rising to their windowsills were rescue crews in boats knocking on their doors.

Now, as residents from three San Jose neighborhoods and two mobile home parks lament all they’ve lost and clean up from Tuesday’s flood, they are demanding to know why the city didn’t do enough to raise the alarm.

Authorities near the Oroville Dam faced criticism for a chaotic evacuation of nearly 200,000 people fleeing a wall of water that never came, but San Jose’s leaders are under fire for leaving so many residents unprepared for the city’s worst flooding in 20 years.

No lives were lost in either crisis, but the indecision and communications breakdown among city and water district officials in San Jose are raising questions about how authorities here prepared for and responded to an emergency that unfolded over two days last week.

“The public deserves to know all of the facts about why there was not sufficient warning to residents,” Mayor Sam Liccardo acknowledged Saturday. He will be holding a hearing in the next two weeks for a full public vetting. “There will not be any information held back.”… (more)

We are told that the San Francisco plan is “shelter in place”, since there is no realistic way to evacuate a city dependent on power to operate most public transportation systems. The more electrified we are the more dependent on that system. Rentals and shared vehicles will not go very far during a crisis.



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