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Levee Break Floods Hollister Farms

HOLLISTER (CBS SF) – Torrential downpours overwhelmed a levee in a farming area near Hollister Friday, sending flood waters rushing through a breach and swamping farms and homes in the region.

Water rescue teams were sent the rural area to help residents and wildlife flee the fast-rising waters of Pacheco Creek. It was the second time in just over a week that the Lovers Lane area has been inundated with flood waters because of a levee breach.

Just like last week, mandatory evacuations were ordered in the area.

The flooding came hours after Bay Area residents awoke to thunder, lightning, hail, a torrential downpour and a flash flood warning for Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties as a weather front roared onshore from the Pacific.

Evacuations were also ordered in unincorporated Santa Clara County where a roughly 500-gallon home propane tank was leaking after a fallen tree damaged it, a county fire department captain said.

The leak was reported at 10:34 a.m. in the 19000 block of Beardsley Road, near the Lexington Reservoir. Buildings within 300 feet of the tank were evacuated and a hazardous material team was dispatched to the scene.


The evacuations came on a wild day that began with a potent squall line arriving about 3:20 a.m. By the time it moved through, the storm had rocked homes with thunder and turned the early morning commute into a treacherous journey.

The California Highway Patrol reported more than a dozen freeway crashes and a mudslide partially blocked a southbound lane of state Highway 9 in the area of Highlands Park.

The sheriff's office is reporting another slide in the 4900 block of state Highway 9. Cleanup crews responded to the areas.

Around 5 a.m., the sheriff's office reported a tree down on Eureka Canyon Road – closing the roadway in both directions.

Meanwhile, the torrential downpours triggered a flash flood warning for central Santa Cruz County with high water predicted for Paradise Park, Felton Grove, the River Park in Ben Lomond and Tannery Arts Center area along the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz.

Forecasters warned residents living near the San Lorenzo Creek to move to higher ground because of the rising water.

Another flash flood warning was issued for Southeastern Sonoma County. The National Weather Service said flooding was occurring in the Petaluma area, specifically in Willow Brook at Penngrove Park.

Steep rises in water level were also being reported on Sonoma Creek at Agua Caliente, and are quickly approaching flood stage.

A flash flood warning was also issued for West Little Llagas Creek in Morgan Hill.

Meanwhile, the Lake Tahoe region remains under a winter storm warning into Monday after the second of a trio of storms dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on the top of the Sierra Nevada.

Sugarbowl ski resort reported Friday it has received 22 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours near U.S. Interstate 80 west of Truckee, California. Sixteen inches of new snow was reported at Heavenly ski resort at South Lake Tahoe, and a foot at Tahoma on Tahoe's west shore.

The National Weather Service says the strongest of the three storms arrives Saturday night and continues into Monday morning, with winds gusting up to 140 mph over the Sierra ridgetops Saturday night and Sunday.

As much as 6 feet of snow is expected in the mountains around Lake Tahoe, and 2 to 4 feet at lake level. Up to 8 inches of snow is forecast in Reno, Nevada.

By Monday, forecasters expect many parts of the Sierra are expected to have the maximum springtime snowpack level typically not reached until April 1.

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