San Jose was warned about flood and failed to act, water district official says

Water officials say San Jose city authorities received several warnings that flooding was imminent but failed to evacuate thousands of residents who were trapped in their homes after a creek broke its banks.

John Varela, board chairman of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, said in a letter sent Tuesday to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo that his agency and the National Weather Service gave the city all the warnings necessary to call for an evacuation ahead of the Feb. 21 flood, but it failed to act.

San Jose came under fire for ordering more than 14,000 residents to evacuate after contaminated floodwaters from a swollen Coyote Creek had flooded homes.

Liccardo has said the city acted late because it relied on projections from the water district showing the creek could hold more water before flooding.

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