Reservoirs Filling Up, Bay Area Prepares for Weekend Storm

Uvas Reservoir in Morgan Hill was at 100.9 percent of capacity; residents in North Bay stocking up on sandbags

Previously drought-stricken reservoirs in the Bay Area are filling up, or full already, prompting cheers from Californians after five years of bone-dry weather. But the bounty of water is also creating new concerns about flooding for those who live nearby.

The Uvas Reservoir in Morgan Hill was more than full: It was 100.9 percent of capacity on Thursday, and that prompted evacuations at the nearby Thousand Trails RV Park in Morgan Hill.

The mantra of the day from campers there: "Better safe than sorry."

"I'm in my bedroom slippers still," camper Denise Crittenden, of Michigan, said. "They told us last night to be ready to leave, so I've been packing up all day long. I've never experienced this before. I don't really know what to think."

It's not Jack Weatherby's first time, and he's not messing around.

"Some people tried to stay last year until the fire people knocked on their door, and that's almost too late," he said.

Evacuees rushed to other nearby RV parks, hoping to snatch a spot before they're all filled up.

"I've got to get their first or second, or I won't get in," Weatherby said.

Water officials said the RV park is the only place under evacuation order, for now.

In the North Bay city of San Anselmo, business owner Q Ansari said he's anxious about this weekend's storm. He was stacking sandbags in front of his Pilates Pro Works studio in the downtown area.

"Everyone is saying there’s a big one coming," he said. "Let’s see what happens."

Martha Atwood said it sounds pretty serious to her this time.

"We don’t take it so seriously every time we hear about it," she said. "We have been getting alerts, so we thought we’d come out and get sandbags."

San Anselmo’s Public Works Department is making sure it provides enough sandbags for the community. Director Sean Condry on Thursday was giving people a quick lesson on the proper way to fill a bag.

"Sometimes they say we’re like Chicken Little; we warn people the sky is falling," he said. "A lot of times it doesn’t, but when it does, you want to be ready."

Back in the South Bay, the rising Guadalupe River in San Jose had homeless advocates and people living in the surrounding outside encampments worried with much more rain expected this weekend.

The Guadalupe River overflowed its banks about a decade ago, flooding downtown homes and businesses. But recent flood control projects should prevent that from happening again, officials said.

"We have a lot of flood-control projects that have been completed over the last few years, and are ongoing and planned for the future," Santa Clara Valley Water District spokesman Marty Grimes said.

Santa Clara County officials also opened more beds this week because of the cold.

A strong blast of wet weather is expected to strike on Saturday with nearly ¾ of an inch expected to blanket lower elevations, according to NBC Bay Area Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri.

Then, on Sunday, the system will meet up with a subtropical moisture tap and “boost” the region’s rain potential, Ranieri said. Higher elevations over the Santa Cruz Mountains could actually get 8 inches of rain by the end of the weekend. Large river stems and small creeks, such as the Napa, Russian and San Anselmo rivers, as well as streams, could reach near flood stage Sunday night into Monday.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd, Elyce Kirchner, Laura Malpert and Damian Trujillo contributed to this report.

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