Heavy rains cause flash flooding in North Bay

January 20, 2010 7:38:08 PM PST
In the North Bay, this day began with heavy rains and worries about creek levels. Willow Brook Creek was one of them, after a high water sensor triggered upstream early Wednesday morning. But it was one sensor out of twelve and it stayed within its banks.

In the North Bay, on Wednesday some of the rain falling down in a town away seemed beautiful. However, it was not such a pretty sight when the storm was heading in your direction or leaving a calling card.

Flash flooding occurred in Petaluma Wednesday amidst the series of storms currently battering the Bay Area. Lichau Creek off Adobe Road is normally a small creek, but it overflowed its banks Wednesday. It did not cause any major problems, but fire and water district officials say they are monitoring the creek.

"This morning it took half an hour. Once the water starts to come over that road, it backs everything up downstream," said Erik Fowler, from V. Dolan Trucking.

But it remained manageable. The trucks here fared better than some cars.

High water caused Highway 37 to be closed at South Novato Boulevard.

Farther north, the driver of this new Mercedes Benz assumed water passing across Rohnert Park Parkway was not as deep as it looked, and then found out differently, when the fire department bailed him out -- and we mean that literally.

The luckiest driver of all avoided a near tragedy on Highway 12 at Trinity Road in Glen Ellen when an oak tree fell in front of his car, instead of on it. They came seemingly out of nowhere, he said, just before the highway patrol drove him away.

But for all the weather, and all the problems, the day could have been much worse and for the Rancho Adobe Fire District, this swollen creek even provided an opportunity.

Since no one actually needed a swift water rescue, Chief Frank Treanot had them practice, instead.

"The lads are practicing because they have the water to do it," said Treanor.

And by all accounts, the lads had a good time in the fast, frigid, muddy water. At least, they said they did.

To wrap it up, the North Bay has been fortunate, so far. Big rains, yes, but also some convenient spaces of time between them, allowing swollen creeks like this one to drain. Locals hope it remains that way.