Floods hit California’s central valley Wednesday, forcing evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people and forcing tens of thousands more to seek shelter in remote communities.
As the water rose, rescuers were trying to rescue as many people as they could.
“They’ve got about 15 or 20 bodies on the ground.
I’m still getting my feet wet,” said San Francisco resident Jennifer Henson, who said she was told to evacuate as the water reached her home on Wednesday afternoon.”
I was on the roof of my house, so I’m looking out and I saw a boat coming in,” Henson said.
“I told my husband, ‘Hey, get your son and wife and daughter and family off this roof.’
I didn’t know if I would survive.”
By 7 p.m., Henson’s husband and children had been rescued and the water had receded.
Henson said she and her family were able to get into a tent to wait out the floodwaters, but her house flooded first.
“The floodwater was so high,” Henningsaid.
“The water was just rising and rising.
We couldn’t do anything.
The whole house was just going to go underwater.
I could hear my husband screaming and the dog screaming, but we were too scared to get out.”
By 9 p.ms., the water levels had recessed, and rescuers had reached Henson and her two daughters and her husband.
The Hennys are now on a helicopter and are planning to fly them to their next shelter, which is about a five-hour drive from their home.
Gavin Newsom said it would take days to rebuild the area and warned residents to keep their distance.
“You’re going to have a lot of flooding and a lot more people going through this,” he said.
Newsom said he hoped the water would subside before people started heading back to the central valley.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it will begin working to restore flood-prone areas and restore roads and railroads in the Central Valley, which has suffered the worst flooding in California history.
“We have not seen anything like this since 1950,” Army Corps spokeswoman Dana Niederhauser said.
“It is the most severe drought since the Dust Bowl,” she added.
The drought has pushed millions of people into extreme poverty and forced millions more to flee their homes.