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Thousands evacuate homes as flood waters swamp San Jose

Downpours have caused a nearby creek to overflow and pour hazardous, trash-strewn water into two neighborhoods. More than half of California has been under flood, wind and snow advisories in the past week.

Thousands of San Jose residents have been forced to evacuate their homes after waist-high flood waters swamped a number of neighborhoods in the northern Californian city on Tuesday as stormy weather continued in the US state.

Murky, trash-strewn water inundated whole city blocks in the low-lying Rock Springs and Williams Street neighborhoods, as the nearby Coyote Creek overflowed after days of heavy downpours. Residents of some 600 creek-side mobile homes were also ordered to move to higher ground as waterways began to swell.

Evacuated residents were taken to try land and rinsed off to prevent them from being falling ill after floodwaters had traveled through garbage, sewer lines and other hazardous pollutants.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo acknowledged that municipal officials should have responded faster to the flood warnings and evacuated people sooner. "As I sit here today and I look out at a neighborhood that's completely inundated with water ... there's no question in my mind there was a failure of some kind," he said.

According to city officials, there were no reported injuries, although at least 300 homes were said to have been damaged by flooding.

USA San Jose Überschwemmungen (picture-alliance/AA/T. Cokun)

Some 300 homes in neighborhoods near San Jose's Coyote Creek are said to have been badly damaged.

Winter storms slam California

Tuesday's flooding is the latest in a series of heavy downpours that have swept the once draught-stricken US state of California.

In the past week, around half the state has been under flood, wind or snow advisories. Many areas reported at least 3 inches (8 centimeters) of rain, while some received far more. The Big Sur region outside the city of Santa Rosa saw more than 8 inches, according to weather officials.

Last week, storms damaged two spillways on the Lake Oroville Dam around 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco. The damage raised major flood warnings and prompted the evacuation of more than 100,000 people downstream.

Dry weather is expected to return to the region on Wednesday.

dm/sms (AP, Reuters)

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