Level 2 storm causing flooding on Bay Area roads, highways

ByTara Campbell and Anser Hassan, Cornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, January 2, 2023
Level 2 storm causing flooding on Bay Area roads, highways
Highway 101 is closed in both the north and southbound directions in South San Francisco due to major flooding by Oyster Point, the CHP said.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The atmospheric river that has hit the Bay Area is causing widespread problems---most notably flooding.

East Bay

The heavy rain cause severe flooding in parts of Danville, shutting down streets in the neighborhood around El Capitan Drive and Iron Horse Trail, where overflowing water gushed through the streets.

San Ramon Valley fire fighters used kayaks to help evacuate some families, including a mom and her three-year-old son and six-month-old.

"At no time (did I think they) weren't going to be rescued, but it was traumatic," said Debi Zentner, whose daughter's family was rescued.

Zentner said the family just moved to Danville earlier this year. She came to pick them up to take to her house in Pleasanton.

Her daughter's husband, Nelson Bostrom, says their garage started to flood.

"This is not what we were expecting, whatsoever. I started cleaning out the drains earlier this morning. Thought I was making difference for a little bit. And then, all of a sudden, there was too much water coming down," Bostrom said.

John Beans, who lives nearby, took video of an SUV drift across the street.

VIDEO: Update from meteorologist Lisa Argen on Level 2 storm causing flooding, problems across Bay Area

"There is a Ford Excursion. I watched it come floating down the street to a stop. So, even with a Ford Excursion, you are not getting out of this," Beans said.

Fire officials say this is not typical for Danville. Battalion Chief Erik Falkenstrom said there was just too much water for the drainage system to handle.

"All creeks right now are over-flooded. So, what is normally a small creek, has turned into this," Falkenstrom said.

In the East Bay, an SUV was found submerged after water flooded a neighborhood in Danville. And a tree came crashing down in Walnut Creek by the Contra Costa Canal.

RELATED: LIVE: Track rain in San Francisco Bay Area with Live Doppler 7

The Alameda County Sheriff's Department said deputies and the fire department were able to rescue 19 elderly patients from a long term care facility in Castro Valley once it got flooded from the storm.

In Dublin, ABC7's Lena Howland tweeted video of a rare high level at Willow Creek in Dublin showing water flowing at the highest level she's ever seen before. The creek is located near Willow Creek Dr. and Fall Creek Rd.

She says, "For context, this creek is usually dry. This shut down the Alamo Creek Bike Bath on the other side of the bridge."

North Bay

In the North Bay, the New Year's Eve storm brought flooding and downed trees to the region, not to mention lots of worry for homeowners.

"Well Happy New Year," said Rachel Burke.

RELATED: Timeline: Heavy rain, Level 2 Storm Saturday morning; Flood Watch in effect for entire Bay Area

It's not the New Year's Eve Rachel Burke and her family had planned after floodwater from the storm inundated parts of Los Angeles Boulevard in San Anselmo.

"I was woken about 7:20 a.m. with a knock on the door, I thought it was PG&E but it was my neighbor telling us we needed to move our cars now. It was flooding in the front right there," Burke said.

She showed us how close the water came to her front door.

In Mill Valley, steady rain brought trouble for storm drains.

ABC7 News reporter Cornell Barnard tweeted video of the flow of water overwhelming a drainage system in Mill Valley.

Ted Genther was keeping a close eye on this and other drains, overwhelmed by the powerful storm.

"We're on a flood plain. It's high tide, so it's going to happen, bad timing," Genther said.

Chuck Cortesi was worried about flooding on Armstrong Avenue in Novato. He was trying his best to clear debris.

"If it keeps raining, it's going to get worse. Driveways, homes will be flooded," Cortesi said.

In Napa County, Cal Trans crews were working to remove a fallen tree on Highway 29 in Calistoga, firefighters say driver of a car collided with the tree, luckily no injuries.

In Sonoma County, the intersection of Highways 121 and 12 was closed because it was mostly underwater. A detour was in place for drivers. But Greg Larson didn't mind a bit, he's happy for the rain.

"We haven't seen rain like this in a while, it's good to see we're still in a drought, so this is really good," said Larson said.


In South San Francisco, Highway 101 is closed in both the north and southbound directions by Oyster Point due to major flooding, the California Highway Patrol said on Saturday.

It was reportedly closed just around 11a.m. and reopened just after 8 p.m.

At 5:15 p.m., Highway 101 in South San Francisco had not yet reopened. There was still lots of water and CHP said a big-rig drove through the freeway closure and was stuck on the guardrail of the on-ramp and will have to towed away.

Also, several cars followed each other to drive through the Highway 101 closure, but got stuck, too. The CHP says it had "stretched the resources even thinner."

Over at Belmont, a car was submerged as water levels rose Saturday morning.

San Francisco

Image of flooding in San Francisco, Calif. on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.
Image of flooding in San Francisco, Calif. on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

In San Francisco, a driver was rescued from a flooded street in the Marina District, San Francisco fire officials say.

The incident happened along the 500 block of Marina Blvd. Authorities say the driver will be okay.

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