Rising floodwater forces rescue operation near Hollister

HOLLISTER, Calif. - UPDATE 1/11/17 6:45 p.m.: Joceline Vasquez is one of more than 30 evacuees seeking shelter inside the Veterans Memorial Building after floodwaters came into her home on Lover's Lane.

"My mom woke up at 3 a.m. and she started screaming and she saw the water coming through our house," said Vasquez. "Just very shocked and speechless. You never prepare for stuff like this."

Officials said more than 100 residents were evacuated. Forty-nine were rescued by boat and vehicle after the Pacheco Creek overflowed, spilling into homes on the northern part of San Benito County and the southern tip of Santa Clara county.

"A lot of these areas are considered to be flood plains and so that combined with the volume of water and the rainfall that’s taking place over the last 24 to 48 hours combined to create a perfect storm,” said Louie Valdez, Management Analyst and Public Information Officer for San Benito County. “To create a flooding situation that has not occurred here in quite some time."

"I can't get my cars in or out, so I'm kind of stranded here,” said Lovers Lane resident Richard Sanchez. “So in the meanwhile I'm just walking up and down the street seeing if I can help some neighbors."

The San Benito County Office of Emergency Services set up a command post to monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, residents said they're just trying to pick up the pieces.

"As long as I have my family with me, and health, and alive that’s all that matters from here on," said Vasquez.

No injuries have been reported so far, just considerable damage to property.

UPDATE 1/11/17 11:46 a.m.: More than 100 people have been evacuated from a neighborhood just north of Hollister after reports of flooding from Pacheco Creek between Shore and Highway 152, according to San Benito County Office of Emergency Services.

Crews from the Hollister Fire Department said 108 residents were evacuated from homes along Lovers Lane over a four hour period early Wednesday morning and no injuries were reported. 

An evacuation center has been set up by the American Red Cross at the Veteran's Hall in Hollister. 

County leaders said they are in the process of working with the State of California to determine whether a state of emergency should be issued.

Emergency managers said evacuees with animals can take their small pets to the Animal Shelter at 1331 South Street in Hollister. Horses and small livestock can be taken to Bolado Park at 9000 Airline Hwy. in Tres Pinos. Cattle can be taken to 101 Livestock at 4400 Highway 101, Aromas.

The county said Lovers Lane remains closed until further notice.

1/11/17 8:15 a.m.: Emergency crews used boats to rescue dozens of residents trapped in the Lovers Lane area. According to the National Weather Service Pacheco Creek reached near 20 feet overnight, flooding rural homes and cars.  More than 30 people have been rescued.

We will continue to update this story as more information comes in.

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