Christmas brings more rain to Bay Area


The series of storms over the last few days has left communities in the Santa Cruz Mountains soaked and residents are bracing for another round of rain.

Drivers who were either on their way to holiday dinner or leaving the day's festivities had to deal with rain soaked roads.

The storms over the last few days has left hillsides very saturated, making them prone to rock and mud slides like one near Boulder Creek. County crews have been quick to cordon them off from traffic to make for safer driving this Christmas Day.

And with Tuesday's line of rain storms, some residents took a break from their usual Christmas traditions to load up on sand bags in Ben Lomond.

Area rivers and creeks are raging but they're not threatening to over flow their banks and there's no expectation that they'll pose any problems.

For those drivers who do have to travel through the Santa Cruz Mountains as the storms are passing, they create patches of foggy conditions that are sometime very dense.

The storm has also brought some flooding to wine country in some of the usual places. Water over-topped a levee along Sonoma Creek where it borders the Larson Family Winery.

This usually happens every year and this year the creek has been especially high according to the winery owner right now, water is continuing to flood into a portion of the 70 acres of chardonnay vines.

"It's a nuisance, but it's not a bad nuisance; it's good for the ground, it's good for agriculture, it's good to recharge our groundwater," winery owner Tom Larson said. "It's kind of a pain for having to clear all the debris from the valley out of the vineyard; there's trees in there, there's logs, basketballs, volley balls, you name it. Whatever comes down the creek is what we get."

Larson says it costs about $10,000 a year to remove all the debris once the rainy season ends.

High water is forcing road closure; the California Highway Patrol issued a traffic alert closing Highway 12 at Highway 121 in Schellville, just south of Sonoma. It is too common a sight for many people in the area. Highway 121 at Highway 12 fills with water after a heavy rain and then becomes a river when high tide occurs and pours more water into the area. The roadway will be closed until sometime Wednesday.

In East Palo Alto, city workers are keeping a close eye on levees surrounding the San Francisquito Creek.

One of the levees couldn't hold under the stress of the rising waters and sprung a big leak last Thursday during the storms. Monday night, crews worked placing sandbags over the leaks.

The creek needs to be widened and levees improved to prevent future flooding. A construction project to address the problems begins next spring.

Showers are predicted to continue on Wednesday, improving to partly cloudy on Thursday and mostly clear Thursday night with rain returning on Friday, National Weather Service forecaster Diana Henderson said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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