Hollister gets half inch of rain in a day

Alleyways like this one downtown near City Hall were flooding Tuesday.

Rain influenced by the El Niño year has been pattering on roofs in San Benito County, but at least one Hollister official said the streets are in good shape and the high winds that knock down trees haven’t arrived.

Hollister City Manager Bill Avera reported no significant street issues Tuesday morning with the rain onslaught.

“I actually had a conversation with my streets guy this morning and he didn’t even mention anything about the rain so that means everything is going well,” Avera said Tuesday morning. “I haven’t heard of any sort of problems or issues.”

In the past 24 hours—a measurement that ended at 10 a.m. Tuesday—0.48 inches of rain fell in Hollister, 0.39 inches fell at Pinnacles and 0.5 inches fell at Fremont Peak, said Steve Anderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service’s forecast office for Monterey and the San Francisco Bay Area.

“That’s pretty normal,” the forecaster said. “Just light, light rain.”

Anderson had predicted in December that El Niño’s impact on the West Coast would be strongest in January or February, bringing more rain than the early part of winter.

“We’re currently in the El Niño season,” he said this week. “El Niño is happening right now.”

When the Free Lance asked Hollister’s city manager about the flooding near some downtown alleyways and parking lots—Avera explained the south end of San Benito Street is on an older drain system.

“That happens and it’s happened for the last 50 years,” he said.

A newer storm drain was installed from Third to South streets about 20 years ago in the early 1990s, he said. People may also see some flooding on Fourth Street down by Line Street, he said, calling that spot and south San Benito Street “historic problem areas.”

“We haven’t had a lot of wind or anything so you’re not going to see any trees down or anything,” Avera said.

Workers have been cleaning out the drainage inlets for the last few months, starting in September or October, the city manager explained.

“That helps,” Avera said. “That’s kind of the preventive stuff because we’ve been talking about El Niño here for a while.”
Roger Grimsley, the city manager for San Juan Bautista, could not be reached immediately for comment. Brent Barnes, director of the San Benito County’s Resource Management Agency—which replaced the public works department—referred all comment to the county administrator’s office. County Administrative Officer Ray Espinosa could not be reached immediately for comment.

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