Another storm system drenches the Bay Area

December 6, 2012 3:00:17 AM PST
The fourth system to hit the Bay Area in a week has arrived - bringing with it flooding concerns, power outages and traffic issues. The steady rain will move east by noon and scattered showers will develop and linger through the evening.

The wet weather persisted throughout the morning commute and caused several spinouts and accidents as rain flooded roads and highways throughout the Bay Area.

Rain causes problems in the East Bay

In Lafayette, work continued to fix a 15-foot sinkhole that opened up after the weekend's heavy rains. Crews worked to stabilize what remains and prevent further damage. The rocks the crews are using are only a temporary measure. City officials haven't decided on what the long-term solution will be.

The effects of the rain could be found other places too. Water runoff flooded two lanes on westbound Interstate 580 near Park Boulevard.

The same rains caused this heavy traffic backup on Interstate 880, forcing slow moving, bumper-to-bumper build-up during the morning commute.

In the Oakland hills, the rain had assistance with bringing down a tree. Rotted roots and saturated soil were a tragic mix for the acacia tree. Residents woke to a solid crash just after 7 a.m. The weight and size of the tree tore a sizable hole in the roof of a home.

A house in Oakland's Maxwell Park neighborhood lost its retaining wall after saturated soil became too much for the bricks and mortar to handle.

North Bay rains lead to fallen trees

The Russian River in Healdsburg may be an early-season indicator that this is the last time we'll utter the word 'drought' this season.

In Sonoma County, one reservoir is full and another is filling. Engineer Don Seymour from the Sonoma County Water Agency is guardedly optimistic.

"Well, in both 2010 and 2011 we came into the summer season with high levels and right now we are at this level without needing storm events to get us there," he said.

The downside to all that water is saturated soil and trees that come tumbling down. That was the case along Sausalito Boulevard in Southern Marin and Bennett Valley Road in Sonoma County.

Sonoma County has an ongoing problem to trim those roads with overhanging trees. In past years, branches have fallen on cars and people. There are more trees to trim than crews to work on them.

Slow progress through the Santa Cruz Mountains

It was one step forward but another one back in the Santa Cruz Mountains where one major problem was fixed but the new rain brought more trouble spots.

Crews on the storm-damaged Vine Hill Road in Santa Cruz County are using K-rail, sandbags and steel plates to widen the road, which runs over a drainage ditch.

Late Wednesday morning, driver's using the popular shortcut to connect to Highway 17 still had to turn around. By early afternoon, the crew had achieved an aggressive goal by reopening one lane and protecting the eroded area from further damage.

But as vine hill reopened, another road closed. A tree fell across El Rancho Drive in Scotts Valley, taking a power line down with it.

Another problem though: repairs crews aren't the only ones moving fast. The California Highway Patrol had a busy morning responding to accidents as drivers continued to speed on the wet roads.

Rock Slide closes Highway 1

A mud- and rockslide has closed state Highway 1 north of Jenner on the Sonoma Coast until at noon on Friday. The roadway is closed between Meyers Grade Road and Timber Cove Road north of Fort Ross.

Bay City News contributed to this report

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