San Diego rain has Southcrest residents thinking about flooding
The first rainfall since floodwaters swamped San Diego’s Southcrest neighborhood had residents looking up and thinking back.
Last week’s flash floods were devastating for people living on Beta Street near Chollas Creek. More than a dozen homes were completely flooded.
“We lost our house. Everyone in the neighborhood lost everything. The landlords are kicking out people that are renting,” said Chris Shareels. “My mom owns. My grandma owns. So, they lost everything. Our cars that were in the driveway, they all got lost. There were like three or four cars. All of them were lost.”
Friends had to bring in jet skis to move some of the older people out of harm’s way, he said.
Fernando Pastor pointed to a line on the side of his house. That line, about four feet off the ground, marked the peak of the flood on every building on his property.
Out back, a shed had been pushed by the surging waters from one side of the yard to the other.
Inside the home, all his possessions had to be thrown away.
He was waiting for a worker to arrive Thursday morning as rain started falling for the first time since the torrent ripped through the neighborhood.
Pastor cast a concerned eye up and recalled the city’s lack of action before the flooding.
“This can happen again,” Pastor said. “We can stop or do something better. We need to focus on that.”
Despite the devastation, Pastor marveled at how the community rallied. He said volunteers were there days before city crews arrived to pick up the sludge in the streets and the ruined furnishings brought out of soaked homes.
“That's why most of the houses are mostly clean. But on the street, the city come to do. But come to do a little late. Until they see that the community started working first,” Pastor said.
A few blocks away, another Beta Street resident, Greg Montoya, stood on a pedestrian bridge over Chollas Creek. The flooding made his house uninhabitable.
He was pleased with the city’s recent efforts.
“They cleaned a whole lot,” said Montoya. “They’ve cleaned the sediment out in front of the outlets of the street drains.”
City crews had chopped down much of the vegetation growing in the creek allowing the water to pass by swiftly.
A week ago the same channel was clogged with debris from vegetation, trash and even several cars. That blockage forced the creek to overflow into neighborhoods.
On Thursday morning, the effort seemed to have worked.
“I feel pretty good,” Montoya said. “We’re not going to get flooded because, this is what should’ve been done. If it had been done, we wouldn’t have had what happened on the 22nd.
Montoya is talking with his neighbors to see what legal action might be taken, but for now he is confident the city’s work will keep more water out of the neighborhood’s homes.
Not everyone is so confident.
“It might get bad,” Shareels said. “If it’s like a five-day nonstop, it might get bad. So, who knows?”
Another Pacific Storm is expected to bring wet weather to the region next week.