Major flooding forces boat evacuations in Maxwell in Colusa County

About a hundred residents in the small town of Maxwell in Northern California were evacuated from their homes, some by boat, early Saturday morning because of major flooding after a powerful storm moved through the region.

Water flooded several residential streets and roads in parts of the rural town of 1,100 in Colusa County as local creeks, streams and tributaries overflowed from heavy rains, snowmelt and runoff, said Janice Bell, a technician in the Colusa County Sheriff’s Department Office of Emergency Services.

“We used some boats to access the residents,” Bell said. “It really became overwhelming suddenly overnight.”

All the evacuees were taken to Maxwell High School around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Bell said. About 40 of them, some with pets, then traveled by bus through the flooding to a Red Cross shelter in Williams, a town 14 miles away, she said.

All of the evacuees at the high school have left, and only a few families remain at the Williams shelter. Some returned to their homes, but most found family to stay with elsewhere, Bell said. 

Residents dealing with flooding in Maxwell, CA. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

As of early Saturday afternoon, rain had stopped in Maxwell, but water is still up to a foot high on Oak Street, the town’s main thoroughfare, and in the northern part of town, Bell said. She didn’t know how long it would take for the water to dissipate.

“It is already starting to go down, but it’s very, very slow,” Bell said.

Residents who see water in their yards should boil water in their homes before drinking it, Bell said. “It could be … seeping down into the soil to get to their water tables,” she said.

There were no reports of major injuries or fatalities in the area.

Maxwell is located along Interstate 5 about 67 miles north of Sacramento.


1:35 p.m.: This article was updated with new information from Colusa County sheriff’s officials.

This story was originally posted at 11:20 a.m.

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