Fallen trees, mudslides block roads in East Bay


A mudslide that disrupted traffic took place on Pinehurst Road just across the Contra Costa County boarder, next to Oakland.

The ground, already saturated from previous rain, was no match for the weight and pressure of the rocks and vegetation that were once on the hillside. The massive stones, some weighing hundreds of pounds, and deeply rooted trees were pulled from their foundation and hang precariously across this stretch of Pinehurst Road in Contra Costa County. That forced the California Highway Patrol to close sections of it to cars until road crews could remove the debris.

In the Oakland Hills, an Acacia tree came crashing down without any warning.

"I just see this tree coming down and my heart just sank," said John Monaghan, a storm damage victim.

The tree was nearly 80 feet tall and weighed close to a ton. It slammed across busy Shepherd Canyon Road with enough pressure and density to crush anything beneath it. The force from the branches caved part of Monaghan's car's roof, ripped off the casing to his side-view mirror and fractured his windshield. The near miss and visible damage is an eerie reminder of what could have been.

"I heard the thing kind of bounce directly right off my roof. I feel pretty lucky," said Monaghan.

John Kuehl, from Oakland Fire Station No. 24, explained what led to the tree's collapse. He said it was due to the "Heavy rains, saturated hillside, week root system."

The firefighters worked quickly to clear the tree from the roadway, using multiple chainsaws to attack it from different angles. In a show of true holiday spirit, motorist who had not been allowed to pass, got out of their cars and offered a helping hand dragging small branches out of the way. They also proved a one-ton tree trunk is not too big to move when you work together.

The break in the rain is only temporary. According to our ABC7 Weather Team, we could see more rain this week, possibly weakening the root systems of more trees.

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.