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Coping with rain keeps Manteca residents busy
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Sal Montes pulls his waterproof boots up to just below his knees before he prepares to wade out into the lake that has become the sidewalk in front of his Manteca home.

A clogged storm drain Friday afternoon backed up almost all of the standing rainwater from the torrential downpour residents were forced to deal with and created a miniature reservoir in front of Montes’ home – sending water up onto his lawn and the lower portion of his driveway.

While the scene was similar in other neighborhoods across the city, Montes opted to not wait for the city to come around and take care of the clog and took to the street in his boots and a rake attached to a pool maintenance pool to clear it himself.

“Lots of cars come down this street, and I don’t want to see one of them spin out when (they) hit this water and take out a parked car or even my fence,” he said. “It’s not that big of a deal, but this rain is starting to become a little bit bothersome. Just when you get a day of sun, there are five more days of showers.”

The National Weather Service forecast is calling for morning rains today with a high of 59 degrees and a low of 43 degrees. Rain is not in the forecast for Sunday when a high of 63 degrees is expected.

After a weekend storm shut down Interstate 80 in both directions between Auburn and the Nevada state line for more than 24 hours, another cold winter storm has pounded Northern California – dumping as much as four feet of snow at higher elevations in the Sierra and forcing reservoir water managers to keep a close eye on levels to make room for the anticipated runoff.

The combination of late season storms like these and the extremely warm unseasonable weather in the higher elevations that sent the snowpack barreling towards reservoirs and into rivers that led to the flooding of the San Joaquin River of 1997 and impacted large swaths of rural South Manteca, Lathrop and Tracy.

It’s not a scenario that Steve Hartman said he’s worried about in the immediate future. The constant barrage of water that seems like it hasn’t ceased for weeks, though, has left a portion of his backyard flooded and makes his drives to Milpitas everyday miserable and unpredictable.

“When you’re going across the Altamont and along those roads over there, you never know what’s going to happen when it’s raining,” he said. “One accident can cause two-hour delays, and that really ruins your day.

“When you’re facing that all week, it would be nice to come home and think that you can go out to the park with your dogs, but that obviously isn’t the case right now, which only makes it worse. Hopefully it clears up soon enough.”

But not everybody hates the fact the rain continues to pelt the Central Valley and the snow is a regular fixture in the Northern Sierra.

Kyle Taylor says that the weather most people consider as “bad” only means that conditions at the ski resorts will be better for snowboarding, and will keep them open longer.

The rain, he says, makes him happy.

“I keep my window open at night when it’s raining, just as long as it isn’t windy like it was earlier this week,” Taylor said. “I love the rain, and I love the snow, so this is really my favorite time of the year. It might slow down driving a little bit, but that’s okay – it’s worth it.”