Novato residents assess storm damages

January 26, 2008 7:30:26 PM PST
With another round of storms on the way, a Novato neighborhood is bracing for more flooding.

What a difference 24 hours makes. People in many North Bay neighborhoods are assessing the damage and cleaning up. The city has also been helping out by sending out street sweepers and power washers to get things back to normal.

It was the Raposa family's first year in a so-called 100-year flood plain neighborhood. In the past 24 hours, her back yard has been dry, it's been a lake and now it's a marsh.

The water from Novato Creek re-arranged everything.

I'm lucky I would say because it could have been a lot worse. I expected the water to come in, but it didn't," said flooded Novato resident Louisa Raposa.

ABC7's Noel Cisneros: "How far short did it come from your door?"

Louisa Raposa: "One inch from my front door."

This neighborhood routinely floods, Friday night was something different.

"How about a once a year flood plain," said Novato resident Kennedy Grant.

Turns out, Friday featured was a convergence of four factors contributing to the high water mark.

More than six inches of rain in 36 hours, high tides, the houses located at the intersection of two creeks and the railroad trestle owned by the North Coast Rail Authority acted like a dam --- it snagged so much debris it created an emergency flooding situation.

So much water was building up behind the dam, the waters were backing so quickly. On Friday night at 8:00 p.m., the city of Novato had Public Works crews come out here to breach the levee, take off the pressure. Had they not done that, the flooding would have been worse.

The water ran into a catch basin.

Novato Public Works crews are working to clear the debris and repair the breach.

It should be fixed by Sunday afternoon. Power was partially restored by Saturday afternoon.

Garden street residents aren't taking any chances. Even though the next storm is predicted to be significantly lighter, the furniture stays up off the floor until the storm passes.

"I'm going to look at all this things and I am going to put some of them in storage. You know, I am trying to get everything off the ground as much as I can. There's only so much I can do," said Novato resident Jonathan Oliveira.

The mayor of Novato said that the city and Marin Flood Control District have been after the North Coast Railway Authority to clear down the trestle, but they were them unable to clear them on time until after the flood.

The rail authority says they were aware of the problem, and pointed out that the area is prone to flooding, and why it is prone to floods.

Public Works said the way to look at this storm is that it was one straw stort to breaking the camel's back. There was no permanent damage to homes, no one hurt and they hope it will turn better with the next round of storms.