Storm Brings Severe Flooding To Downtown Modesto Streets

MODESTO — Downtown Modesto was flooded through the afternoon on Friday, and the city’s drainage system is to blame.

The utilities director says downtown’s drainage system hasn’t been updated in years, and couldn’t handle the amount of rainfall from Thursday night into Friday morning.

The flooding caused businesses to lose customers, and ticked some citizens off.

“My car was going to stop, it was gonna die.”

It took Luz Rojas 15 minutes to get to her pharmacy Friday morning to get her medication — she says it usually only takes her three minutes.

“They should have been prepared, they knew this was coming,” said Rojas.

Rojas says she’s frustrated with the city and feels as if her tax dollars are being flushed away.
Willey’s Printing lost its business Friday, after the floods blocked every entrance to the shop.

“Someone had to come pick up a job here and couldn’t pick it up so we had to make arrangements to get it to them,” said the printing shop estimator.

Most of downtown Modesto was flooded on Friday, but Ninth Street had it the worst.

According to Larry Parlin, the city’s utilities director, “the draining system isn’t really designed to accommodate that much rain at one time.”

Parlin says the drainage system downtown hasn’t been updated in years.

“We’ve had every available crew out trying to clear the drains and trying to get the water to flow out,” Parlin added.

“It was just coming further and further up,” said Linda Montanez.

Montanez manages the express-mart at the 76 gas station on Ninth and “O”.
She says she panicked when she saw the water creeping over the sidewalk and into the gas station parking lot.
She lost business for about three hours because of the high waters.

“We had no one here it was empty. We didn’t even have any walk-ins.”

It’s a sight no one has seen in years, but locals say the extra rainfall is always welcomed during a drought.

Parlin says the city has plans to update the drainage system downtown, but says it’s going to be a slow process because the city does not have enough funds.

More from Angela Musallam
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