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Tree crashes on 3 cars in downtown
Flooding plaques upgraded section of Woodward Ave.
Manteca Fire Captain Dave Marques looks over the damage to Cynthia Mendozas Chevy Malibu. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The largest storm to hit Manteca in nearly 18 months proved costly for three car owners.

The combination of rain and wind caused a tall evergreen in the Athens Burger parking lot in downtown Manteca to split and fall around noon Saturday. Three cars parked next to the Cow-munity mural were struck.

Cynthia Mendoza was inside Athens’ having lunch with her family when the tree struck her Chevrolet Malibu. It crumpled the roof and shattered the back window

Manteca Fire Department crews respond to the incident. While no one was injured, firefighters spent time sawing the fallen tree into smaller sections to eliminate safety issues that it posed.

Less than 2 inches of rain fell between early Friday morning and Sunday at 6 p.m. based on data gleaned from the City of Manteca’s weather station at the Civic Center in the 1000 block of West Center Street. That brought the rain total since Oct. 1 for Manteca to 5.4 inches. Manteca’s historic annual rainfall is 14.06 inches.

Of the nearly 2 inches, some 1.5 inches fell by mid-afternoon Friday.

That created flooding along Woodward Avenue where the city has spent over $9 million installing water lines, storm pipe, new pavement, and median landscaping.

Several neighbors called the Bulletin to complain that “the city had created the flooding” since Woodward Avenue between Union Road and Airport Way never flooded before. One referenced an accident last year when a driver hit the standing water after a storm, lost control, struck the median and damages a resident’s property

“It’s a lake out there,” agreed City of Manteca Public Works Director Mark Houghton.

Houghton noted they storm drain system has yet to be completed. Once two subdivisions that have either broken ground or are getting ready to start turning dirt have their storm drain infrastructure in place, drains along the section of Woodward Avenue will be connected and the problem solved.

Houghton asked residents to be patient as the problem should be collected before the start of the next rainy season.

“People need to slow down for conditions,” Houghton said of the standing water.

Houghton noted prior to the work, water just rolled off into nearby fields. The work put in place curbing and changed how the road was crested creating berms. Once the storm system is connected Houghton said the street flooding will disappear.

Houghton noted he spent 90 minutes Friday driving around Manteca checking the usual trouble spots and saw minimal flooding issues.

“We handled it pretty well,” said of the city crews that made sure drains kept rain run-off flowing.