Flooding shuts down southbound Highway 101

January 20, 2010 7:15:25 PM PST
The third in a series of continuous storms packed a powerful punch Wednesday. The entire Bay Area got drenched and some parts, like U.S. Highway 101 in San Jose, were left underwater.

The southbound lanes of Highway 101 were closed most of the day Wednesday, but late in the afternoon the shoulder and No.1 lane were opened to traffic as the water began to recede.

The flooding across all four southbound lanes forced the California Highway Patrol to close the connector from I-880 to southbound 101. That created a traffic nightmare, especially after two additional onramps at 13th Street and Oakland Road were also shut down.

The flooding was caused by a combination of factors -- a ballast designed to prevent runoff from flowing into a nearby creek when the creek gets too high and clogging caused by landscape bark getting washed into the roadway.

As the waters began to recede, the CHP allowed vehicles to pass single file along the shoulder of the center divide.

Elsewhere in San Jose, firefighters came to the rescue of a woman they found on the roof of her car that was partially submerged in flood waters. A firefighter carried her to dry land, while another pushed the car.