Recent storms serve as test-run for flood prone North Bay

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- These storms are like a dress-rehearsal for the first responders who are gearing up for El Nino-enhanced weather. Mill Valley is one of the spots where they always see flooding when it rains hard in the Bay Area.

At the Manzanita Park And Ride lot there are signs all over the place warning people not to park their cars when there's a chance of flooding.

VIDEO: San Francisquito Creek flood warning system has slippery start

On Thursday both the morning and evening commutes were a wet and windy one for North Bay drivers. There were short bursts of hard rain with a long dry spell in between. Sky 7 HD caught video of commuters driving through large puddles on Highway 101 near Lucky Drive.

STORMWATCH: Track the rain on Live Doppler 7 HD radar maps

A driver saw a large tree fall right in front of his car in Stinson Beach near the Panoramic Highway. Luckily, that driver wasn't hurt. Road crews used this storm as good practice for the El Nino season still on the horizon.

"We're there as much as we can at this point. We're getting there, working hard to be prepared," Frank Giammona from the Marin County Roads Department said.

READ MORE: ABC7 Storm Impact Scale

Tara Sharp of Mill Valley has taken precautions at her low-lying home, but worries about people up higher. She told ABC7 News, "I don't live up in the hills and I think some of the people who live up in the hills are very concerned about potential landslides or trees coming down. That's really scary."

She describes one of many scenarios the Marin County Sheriff's Office has been discussing for months.

"There are some very large tides and if you couple that with heavy winds and a lot of rain you could see some storm surges and there's a possibility for coastal flooding, so those are some of the things we're watching for going forward," Marin Emergency Services Manager Chris Reilly said.

VIDEO: As Bay Area hit by rain, Sierra sees some snow

The Marin County Sheriff's Department says people can sign up for AlertMarin to receive mobile alerts during an emergency or severe weather.

Almost all of the counties in the Bay Area offer these kinds of alerts.

Prepare NorCal: Disaster preparedness resources

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