Mudslide danger remains in Bay Area as rain eases in region

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Friday, January 29, 2021
Landslide pushes PG&E truck downhill in Aptos, driver safe
A driver is safe after an overnight landslide pushed a PG&E truck 150 feet down a hill in Aptos.

The Bay Area is getting a break from the series of storms that brought heavy rainfall and powerful winds to the region.

A few leftover showers continue this morning as the last amount of energy is squeezed from our storm. The wet weather ranks a 1-Light on our Storm Impact Scale. Light rain falls on the North Bay tomorrow and to a lesser extent Sunday as it migrates north. The rest of our neighborhoods experience mostly cloudy and cool conditions.

Our next storm, 1-Light on our Storm Impact Scale, arrives Monday and an extended period of dry weather begins Wednesday.

  • LIVE: Track rain, wind with Live Doppler 7
  • SNOW: Dangerous storm could dump 7 feet of snow, bring 100 mph wind gusts to Sierra Nevada
  • Our ABC7 News team is covering the strongest storm of the season across the Bay Area.

    South Bay

    Storm damage has closed sections of Hwy 1 south of Big Sur and near the Monterey County line.

    South of Big Sur, Caltrans is sending a team out to asses the damage on Highway 1 that collapsed. It's not clear when it will reopen. Another section is closed near the Monterey County line. This isn't the first major issue along Highway 1 near Big Sur. A huge landslide in 2017 wiped out the entire road closing a section of highway one for months.

    An overnight landslide in Santa Cruz County pushed a PG&E truck 150 feet downhill on Valencia School Road in Aptos. The driver is safe and has been rescued.

    On Thursday, all evacuation orders issued for Santa Cruz County were reduced to warnings.

    Though the storm didn't cause the potentially massive damage many officials were fearing in Santa Cruz County, first responders remain on high alert for the potential mudslides and debris flows, especially in the areas last year's CZU Lightning Complex burn area.


    With outdoor dining back open, many couldn't pass up the chance to get outside, even in a rainstorm.

    All evacuation orders issued for San Mateo County were reduced to warnings Thursday.

    J.R. Stone was in Daly City, Colma, San Bruno, Pacifica, and Burlingame Tuesday evening as the rain and wind picked up and temperatures dropped. Driving conditions were extremely slick along Highway 101 in San Bruno.

    Travelers still took to the roadways just as people were still taking to the streets. Some Burlingame residents even braved the storm to be outside after the lockdown was lifted.

    PG&E crews in Daly City worked to make sure faulty equipment was working properly before the storm. All with a hope that wind and rain doesn't cause too much damage.

    San Francisco

    A level 3 storm is expected to bring heavy rain and powerful wind gusts to the Bay Area. San Francisco employees with the Department of Public Works are out in full force providing residents with sandbags and preparing the city for potential flooding.

    The wind from Tuesday's storm draged a lot of debrs onto the streets of San Francisco, clogging storm drains around the city. Public Work crews have been working hard since Tuesday to set up flood barriers and pass out sandbags to residents. They spent Wednesday responding to clogged storm drains and clearing out debris before more rain arrives.

    North Bay

    In the North Bay, the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Watch for areas near burn scars from the LNU Complex and Glass Fire through Thursday afternoon.

    "There's nothing there. It's just moonscape. Water is just going to run down the hill," said Britton Bock, an Angwin resident, describing the hillside near Calistoga and the Silverado Trail which was burned in the Glass Fire.

    While he understood the worry about mudslides, he said it was hard not to welcome the rain.

    "We've been praying for rain since September, August. Now it's here. It's a great thing," he said.

    VIDEO: North Bay businesses eager to finally reopen, shuttered by heavy rain

    While some welcomed the rain on behalf of the dry hillsides, others in the Napa area say this rain is hurting businesses who have already gone through so much, and were eager to reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted earlier this week.

    On Tuesday night, several North Bay communities were told to prepare for evacuations but the first band of rain only brought minor damage.

    While much-needed in the dry hillsides, the winter weather was a drag for restaurants during the first week of the outdoor dining reopening.

    At the Himalayan Sherpa Kitchen on Main Street in St. Helena, the outdoor patio was covered and the headlamps were on Wednesday night but few people were out.

    "Tonight we just did one. We had one table," said owner Shova Sherpa.

    She said they have been surviving with take-out orders from locals but have seen very few tourists lately. She's hoping the wineries are able to start drawing more people back to the valley. Any more natural disasters would be devastating, she said.

    "I do know a few customers who have lost homes in the fires and all that. They've already gone through so much," said Sherpa, who lives in Napa.

    North Bay business owners are cleaning up after intense wind and rain moved through overnight. Restaurant owners say the storm seemed to take direct aim at their livelihoods, namely outdoor dining parklets and tents.

    Business owners were cleaning up after intense wind and rain moved through overnight Wednesday. Restaurant owners say the storm seemed to take direct aim at their livelihoods, namely outdoor dining parklets and tents. Santa Rosa Restaurant owner Josh Silvers showed us what's left of his giant outdoor dining tent.

    "We were there when Tuesday's storm blew in, unleashing chaos. All of the sudden I see our tent rise and flip over," said Silvers.

    Staff at Jackson's Bar and Oven tried to secure it, but another tent structure next door broke loose and topples all the way across the street.

    "It's insane, we just got the ok to do outdoor dining, we were super excited about," he added.

    Down the street, two dining tents at Grossman's Restaurant buckled from too much rain, luckily they can be rebuilt.

    Across town Paradise Sushi and Hibachi owner Gustavo Martinez says his outdoor dining business was decimated by the storm, his 50 foot tent destroyed.

    "There's no fixing this, we have to order a new one but that could be three weeks if we're lucky," Martinez said.

    Outdoor dining tents can be a large investment, running from anywhere from $800 to $6,000.

    East Bay

    Thousands of people lost power overnight as torrential rain and powerful winds swept through the region.

    In the East Bay, the overnight deluge and windstorm left it mark, like downed power lines, fallen tree limbs and minor street flooding, but so far, no reports of serious incidents. It was hit the hardest in the Bay Area with more than 26,000 power outages Tuesday overnight.

    Up on Mt. Diablo, wind gusts of 80 mph were reached overnight and in Concord gusts reached 33 mph.

    PG&E crews were out in various neighborhoods, trying to restore power, due to dozens of small outages throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. AT&T crews were also out restoring phone and internet service in some areas.

    Anser Hassan, Leslie Brinkley, Cornell Barnard, J.R. Stone, Amy Hollyfield and Wayne Freedman contributed to this report.

    Watch the latest AccuWeather forecast and take a look at recent weather stories and videos.