KCAL reports The Prado Dam overflowed, immersing at least some of the hangers in cold, muddy water and causing serious damage to the aircraft still trapped on the field. Pilots scrambled to move their aircraft onto nearby streets and away from the floodwaters, which rose quickly at the airport. The western end of the east-west runway is completely submerged, as are most of the T-hangars.
But for some aircraft owners and mechanics, time simply ran out before they could move their planes. “That building there is about a foot-and-a-half under,” pilot Paul Shildts told a KCAL reporter, pointing to a row of T-hangars. “If you go to the far end, [it’s] about eight, nine feet under. And it’s not looking good. It looks like [the water is] coming up.”
Pilots were warned by airport officials to start moving their planes on Monday, as it became apparent to city workers the Prado Dam wouldn’t hold back the rushing waters.
City streets surrounding the airport are now impassable because of the aircraft parked on them. Some pilots were able to make it out as late as Tuesday morning. But not all of them.
“I got out here at about 6:30 last night,” pilot Bob Evans told KCAL. “The water was already pretty high. Fortunately, my plane had already been moved.”
There’s no indication at this point how high the floodwaters will rise — or when they’ll begin to recede.