In the North Bay, the ground was saturated by Nov. 29, at least two weeks earlier than usual, which only increased the odds for mudslides and flooding.
The signs of saturated ground are all around -- at Highway 29 along Interstate 80, a small landslide turned an off-ramp into an empty asphalt strip. There, Caltrans was in charge of the clean-up. But in the Sleepy Hollow section of Marin County there was no such help. Two days after a small creek overflowed its banks, residents along Van Winkle Avenue are still digging out.
"It came over this side, that side, got the neighbors as well, came across the road," flooded homeowner Rory Bertiglia said.
Bertiglia had enough time to snap a few pictures, and has been working ever since. Six inches of mud covered his lawn and filled his pool. Four inches of water ruined floors in at least two homes.
Residents are hoping it won't rain again before their furniture dries out. If not, it may join what couldn't be saved and is now en route to the dump.
And all because of ground that saturated early. Too early, leaving more time for the localized disaster to possibly manifest all over again.
Experts say what we've seen so far doesn't fall outside the statistical norm, but it is close.