California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Mateo County due to damage caused by heavy rains and flooding in December, his office announced today, March 1.
The declaration makes East Palo Alto eligible for an estimated $2.7 million in state funds to repair damage to a levee on San Francisquito Creek that failed during a Dec. 23, 2012, storm.
The East Palo Alto City Council voted to declare the state of emergency on Jan. 3, as a first step toward applying for California Emergency Management Agency funding. San Francisquito Creek runs through East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Palo Alto on its way to the San Francisco Bay.
During sustained heavy rainfall on the night of Dec. 23, the creek overran levee walls between Verbena Drive and Daphne Way, prompting the evacuation of a number of homes.
The creek flooded adjacent neighborhoods, where homes, streets and public facilities were damaged by mud and water, according to East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica.
There was also erosion near Woodland Road, where water overtopped the levee and compromised the road. Several "boils" where water seeps through weak points in the levee wall also emerged near the Gardens neighborhood, Abrica said.
Emergency repairs were made on Christmas Eve to shore up the levee, but city officials have said further damage has been found since then.
A flood control project for San Francisquito Creek is slated to get underway later this year. The creek has caused major floods before, most notably in 1998.