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Water Recedes, Cleanup Underway, Many Victims Returning Home With PM-California Flooding Bjt

February 24, 1986

LINDA, Calif. (AP) _ While thousands of flood refugees were still homeless, staying with friends and relatives or in shelters, those who could go home plodded over silt-strewn streets to start a depressing cleanup.

″It’s just one of those things,″ said a grim Airman Bruce Bowen of nearby Beale AFB, as he loaded his drenched, dirtied belongings on a trailer at Villa Linda apartments. He described much of his possessions as ″just history.″

On the other side of town, in West Linda, some other people visited their homes on a raft. An estimated 10,000 people who fled the still flooded area are not expected to be able to return home for weeks.

Many houses were still up to their roofs in water. Flooded cars were all over the streets, pointing in different directions.

In the drained eastern part of town, assorted pieces of furniture, appliances and other belongings sat on the streets, hauled out of houses and apartments to dry in the bright sun under a blue sky. Only a few days before the sky had poured a relentless torrent of rain.

On Thursday night, some 26,000 people in Linda, about 20 miles north of Sacramento, and adjoining Olivehurst fled before a wall of water pouring through a levee break on the south fork of the Yuba River. The break in the levee was plugged Saturday.

At the Corner Grocery, proprietor Tom Gamache opened for business Sunday after digging out piles of food packages that had floated off their shelves. There was mud on the floor, and food still scattered everywhere. He was doing a big business in soda pop and beer.

Officials warned people, as they have elsewhere for days, not to drink water out of regular taps until told it was safe for consumption..

″Last night water was up to here,″ Gamache told a reporter, pointing to a smudged streak about 1 1/2 feet above the floor. On Sunday, the water had receded across the street.

At the Last Resort bar, business was brisk. The watermark was an item of great interest. The telltale streak was half-way up the bar, about 2 1/2 feet above the floor.

Danna Maguire, owner of the bar, said her place appeared to have come out of the flood in pretty good shape. But she was still looking for about $2,000 in cash that had been squirreled away, waiting to be banked.

″It may have floated away or somebody picked it up,″ she said philosophically.

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