San Anselmo creek levels begin to rise

January 19, 2010 1:58:53 PM PST
Stormy weather has caused a lot of concern in the North Bay as creeks have started to rise and trees have started to fall.

The skies above San Anselmo opened up and drenched the city Tuesday morning. Flooding on northbound Highway 101 at the Marin City-Sausalito Exit forced traffic to slow down. San Anselmo creek was at about 6.25 feet by midday, and continuing to rise towards the flood stage of 11.4 feet.

If the creek were to flood, it would cause major problems for some business owners. Andreas Ade had his sand bags out and ready to go Tuesday morning. His hair salon, The Ranch, backs up to the San Anselmo Creek.

"Oh yeah, I'm ready alright," he told ABC7, pointing at some crates. "I got these guys. I'm going to put those underneath my barber chairs and lift everything up four feet because that's probably how much water is going to come in if it floods."

Ade was also ready five years ago when the creek left four feet of water inside his shop. He is one of several business owners ready to fight the creek preemptively with sand bags and flood gates. Other businesses have closed down. In the meantime, Ade is still open.

Others, like the owners of a competing salon down the street, prefer to wait until things get worse, trusting local officials and their own experience with San Anselmo Creek to tell them when to put barriers up.

"This town's really good at getting it once it starts raining, cleaning drains," salon manager Lena Mayned said. "They do every prevention they can to not let that happen again. So, we feel safe."

The longer it rains, the more nervous shopkeepers get. In Marin County, residents experienced downpours on and off since the early morning hours. Saturated grounds and lightning strikes have brought down trees. Things will only get worse as more rain moves into the Bay Area.

"I lost a lot of stuff, but I survived that one and we'll see about this one," Ade said, referring to the flood of 2005.

Many passersby gave the creek a nervous glance Tuesday, wondering if and when the creek will flood. But, people who have lived and worked in the area for a while say they are not worried about today. They are worried about what will happen in the near future when even more rain moves into the area.

Around 70 PG&E customers lost power Tuesday after power was knocked out by falling trees around 6 a.m.