By Bay City News
The East Palo Alto City Council is set to make a move that will allow the city to request $2.7 million from the state to repair a failing levee.
City officials declared a state of emergency on Wednesday in the wake of the recent flooding of the San Francisquito Creek, and the City Council is expected to ratify the declaration. The move will make East Palo Alto eligible to apply to the California Emergency Management Agency for funding to repair the levee.
The levee borders the creek, which 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. Several "boils" also formed, points along the levee where water seeps through weak points on the creek side of the wall and comes out the other side, East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica said.
"There was also erosion near Woodland Road, where water overtopped the levee and compromised the road," he said. The creek flooded adjacent neighborhoods, where homes, streets and public facilities were damaged by mud and water, Abrica said.
Future rainfall could cause flooding that would not only threaten more homes in East Palo Alto, but also nearby communities in Menlo Park and Palo Alto, according to the mayor. "Work needs to be done to shore up spots where the where water overflowed, and other locations where the levee has been compromised," Abrica said.
With no heavy rain in the immediate forecast, Abrica said he remains hopeful that emergency repairs can get started before any more property is damaged.
"Right now it looks great," Abrica said. "As long as we keep having smaller storms, we're less vulnerable."
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