SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Widespread flooding occurred across the San Francisco Bay Area Saturday and Sunday due to heavy rains. Modest amounts of rain are expected to hit the Bay Area Monday and will last until early Tuesday morning.
Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected Tuesday night through much of Wednesday for the Bay Area, according to the National Weather Service. Flood warnings have expired for Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties as of Sunday morning.
The storms are being powered by an atmospheric river, sometimes referred to as the “Pineapple Express” because the moisture plume extends as far back as the Hawaiian islands, KRON4 Meteorologist Kyla Grogan said.
While the rain is a blessing for drought-plagued California, it also comes with flooding and mudslide dangers, especially in wildfire burns scars and mountain regions. The storm system is dumping rain on top of ground that is already heavily saturated. The chances of mudslides and rockslides triggering increase with each passing storm.
As the rains subsided and the high tides retreated, much of the Bay Area was left with clear reminders of the record-breaking rainfall the area received on Saturday. Sunday came with further road closures, and viewers shared images of neighbors navigating flooded roadways.
One viewer shared video from Saturday when they saw a person using a surprising mode of transportation for Alameda streets: a kayak.
San Francisco Road Closures
The San Francisco Fire Department announced that some roads are closed across the city. The first closure is on Great Highway from Point Lobos to Balboa due to a mudslide. SF Fire reports another closure at Clarendon Avenue and Panorama Drive, not far from the Sutro Reservoir, due to a downed tree. Flooding in the area has also forced the SFFD to announce a closure at Cesar Chavez Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Santa Cruz Road Closures
Santa Cruz experienced more road closures on Sunday after a massive sinkhole formed on Glennwood Drive earlier in the weekend. Hwy-1 was shut down at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon for emergency crews to clear brush and debris removal from the San Lorenzo River, Caltrans announced. The agency says the aim of the removal is to prevent flooding.
The California Highway Patrol announced closures on State Route-9 between Paradise Park and Glengarry Road and State Route-236 and China Grade Road as well. CHP reports mudslides, downed trees and sink holes are impacting the area heavily.
SATURDAY STORM UPDATES
A fallen tree crushed a car in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood on Dec. 31. No injuries were reported from the incident at 24th Street and Chattanooga Street, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.
Video of the scene (below) shows the tree damaged a Lexus sedan and nearly crushed an Audi SUV. However, the side mirror of the Audi was damaged.
Photo shows a mudslide that occurred Saturday evening on Redwood Road in Castro Valley.
Another mudslide has been reported in San Francisco on Leconte and Meade avenues in the Bret Harte neighborhood. Though four homes were damaged in the mudslide, no injuries were reported.
San Ramon Police and San Ramon Fire helped evacuate 13 people from severe flooding in the Fircrest Lane neighborhood using their Armored Rescue Vehicle. A photo shared by the department shows the ARV submerged in water.
A viewer sent in a photo of flooding across San Carlos on Saturday. The photo shows a Jeep Wrangler drive into a parking lot through a flooded El Camino Real near Brittan Avenue.
As flooding is being reported across Oakland, one resident, John Shimko, shared a video of fast-flowing water near Revere Avenue. He dubbed the fast-flowing water the “Oakland Hills Urban Waterfall.”
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency reports that MUNI is seeing systemwide delays as a result of flooding and vehicles with mechanical issues.
After US-101 was closed in South San Francisco due to “major” flooding, some drivers heading out in the afternoon reported getting stuck in heavy traffic. Video taken near the Oyster Point Boulevard exit showed traffic at a complete standstill. All lanes have since reopened in both directions, according to CHP.
CalFire’s San Mateo/Santa Cruz Unit was on the scene to help evacuate people from flooded homes on Pilarcitos Avenue and Oak Street in Half Moon Bay. No injuries were reported in the evacuations.
A second mudslide was reported in San Francisco early Saturday afternoon, in the area of O’Shaughnessy Boulevard and Malta Drive. Emergency crews are on scene, and drivers are asked to find alternate routes.
San Francisco Fire Department reported that there was ‘significant’ street flooding in the Gough Street and Octavia Boulevard area. Drivers and pedestrians should avoid the area.
The NWS extended the Flood Advisory for the North Bay until 1:45 p.m.
The San Francisco Fire Department reported a mudslide on the 400 block of Ulloa street. SFFD says the mudslide occurred behind a residence, and no injuries were reported in the incident.
The SF Department of Emergency Management is asking drivers to avoid the area of Marina Boulevard near Marina Green due to flooding. Emergency crews are on the scene, and drivers are encouraged to expect delays or find alternate routes.
The San Ramon Police Department warned drivers of flooding and standing water
The City of Alameda Fire Department shared photos of flooding across the area. AFD says sand bags are available on a first-come, first-serve basis behind City Hall West at 950 W. Mall Square.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area announced that Muir Woods, Point Bonita Lighthouse, Nike Site, Tennessee Valley Beach, part of Conzelman Road Golden Gate Bridge along with Fort Point NHS are all closed to the storm and resulting flooding on Saturday.
Video shows a dock being washed away and eventually torn apart in Hayward Saturday morning due to heavy rains.
Happy Vally Pleasanton Sunol Roads in Pleasanton is experiencing heavy flooding as of Saturday morning. The Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department urges the public to not drive or walk through flooded waters.
The San Mateo Consolidated Fire Department said Belmont, Foster City and San Mateo are experiencing heavy flooding as of Saturday morning. They urge the public not to drive through underpasses or flooded roadways and to stay home if possible.
As of Sunday, in Contra Costa County, Marsh Creek Road is closed between Clayton Road and the Round Valley Regional Preserve due to flooding, mudslides and rockslides. Local traffic is permitted. Happy Valley Road between Bear Creek Road and the Lafayette city limit is closed due to a fallen tree in the road.
Morrison Canyon east of Canyon Heights is closed due a mudslide. Officials say the road will likely be closed for several days.
Hwy-1 was closed from Ragged Point to south of Big Sur due to rockslides on Saturday. Caltrans announced it had crews on site, but the agency could not confirm when the roadway will be reopened.
In Alameda, flooding can be seen on Fernside between Liberty and Encinal. The City of Alameda urges the public to avoid the area and use alternate routes.
Highway 9 is closed north of Big Creek in Santa Cruz County due to a slide. Photo shows multiple trees covering the roadway.
Around 1 p.m. Friday, a massive mudslide blocked Niles Canyon Road in all directions. Caltrans District 4 shut down the road between Old Canyon Road in Fremont to Main Street in Sunol. Caltrans announced at 6:54 p.m. that all lanes have been cleared and Niles Canyon Road has completely reopened.
Around 10 a.m. Contra Costa County announced that Public Works crews closed the road at the interesction of Arthur Road and Pachecho Boulevard in Martinez as a result of flooding in the area.
In San Leandro, I-580 westbound and eastbound are both closed at Fairmont Drive due to heavy flooding. CHP and CalTrans are at the scene and urge drivers to find an alternate route.
Belmont Police Department is warning the public to stay away from Harbor and Old County Roads as flooding continues to hit the area. The department said the area is not passable by car or foot.
In Half Moon Bay, Highway 92 is closed due to mudslides and flooding. The closure is between Lower Lakes and Main Street. There is no estimated time on when the road will reopen.
In Fremont, Niles Canyon is closed until 12 p.m. Saturday due to mudslides, according to CalTrans.
Union City Police Department is urging drivers to avoid Mission Street and Seventh Street, Dyer Street and Cabello Street and Union City Boulevard and Jean Drive due to flooding. Vehicle stalls and traffic backups have been reported in those areas, according to officials.
Highway 9 between Waterman Gap and Upper Highway 236 in Santa Cruz County was closed Friday night due to trees and wires blocking all lanes. There is no estimated time for it to reopen.
In Santa Rosa, the left lane on westbound Highway 12 at Dutton Avenue closed due to a sinkhole. Drivers are advised to expect delays and avoid the area if possible. The lane will be closed until 9:00 a.m. Saturday.
CHP on high alert
Friday evening’s commute will likely be a messy one across Bay Area highways.
The Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management is warning drivers: “Just six inches of water is enough to cause you to lose control of your vehicle. If you encounter flood waters on a roadway, turn around, don’t drown.”
CHP San Jose wrote on Twitter, “Remember to slow down … and increase following distance to give yourself extra time to react.”
The California Highway Patrol’s Maximum Enforcement Period begins at 6 p.m. Friday. Officers will be looking for drivers who are reckless and foolish enough to drive on slick roadways while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
CHP Officer Andrew Barclay told KRON4, “It’s kind of the perfect storm. Mixing impaired drivers and poor driving conditions makes it exponentially worse. Look at the fact that we’re probably dealing with more impaired drivers. On top of that … add in the weather component.”
Flood Watches in effect
The National Weather Service issued Flood Watches for the entire Bay Area, beginning Friday evening and extending through Saturday night. Forecast models are painting between 10 to 11 inches of rain in urban areas, and as much as 20 inches of rain or more over coastal mountains.
San Jose couple killed in Yosemite rockslide
A deadly rockslide was triggered during Tuesday’s stormy weather near the Arch Rock Entrance Station in Yosemite National Park, said Scott Gediman, YNP public affairs officer.
At 9 a.m. on Tuesday, “Two visitors were killed when the car they were in was hit by rocks that had fallen 1,000 feet from above the roadway. The force of the impact pushed their Dodge Ram rental truck off the road. The car landed on the embankment of the Merced River,” Gediman wrote.
The victims were identified by park officials as Georgios Theocharous, 51, and Ming Yan, 35, a married couple from San Jose.
“The rockfall was comprised of about 185 tons of rock and it impacted 500 feet of the road. NPS geologists are investigating the cause of the rockfall remains under investigation,” Gediman wrote.
Several cities across the Bay Area have made sandbags available as they prepare their residents for the storm.
In Palo Alto, residents can pick up sandbags at the following locations.
- Palo Alto Airport on 1925 Embarcadero Road
- Rinconada Tennis Courts at the corner of Newell and Hopkins Roads
- Mitchell Park on 600 East Meadow Drive
Belmont has set up two locations where residents can pick sandbags up.
- Belmont City Hall
- Barrett Community Center
Mill Valley has set up sandbags at the following locations.
- Hauke Park parking lot
- Thalia parking lot at Boyle Park
- Parking area on Molino Avenue behind Old Mill Park
In Livermore, sand and bags are available at several locations. Anyone who wants one is asked to bring their own shovel. The locations are below
- 3500 Robertson Park Road
- 4550 East Avenue
- 5750 Scenic Avenue
- 100 North Canyons Parkway (pre-filled)
New Year’s Eve
The storm will calm down late New Year’s Eve night, and may leave a couple hours before midnight cloud-free for fireworks displays to light up the sky.
But with the Bay Area being the Bay Area — the clouds don’t always follow directions. 2023 will begin with a lovely, sunny day on Sunday. Then the rain rolls back in on Monday as the atmospheric river once again sets up to deliver back-to-back systems going into next week.
‘Street Surfing’ in Santa Cruz
A young daredevil was caught on video street surfing up a flooded roadway in Santa Cruz County.
The Rio Del Mar neighborhood floods near the beach every winter when big rainstorms dump enough water on the roads. Local surfers who live in the neighborhood are keenly aware of this, and take advantage of the situation, as long as Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies are not patrolling nearby.
Action Sports Construction posted a video on Instagram showing a wetsuit-clad surfer wake surfing with a tow rope pulled by a black vehicle. ASC captioned the clip, “Typical California winter.”
Public works officials said rainwater is blocked from draining out through pipes due to nearby Aptos Creek.