Bay Area storm: Images show flooding, rain damage as atmospheric river sweeps through region

ByABC7 News Staff KGO logo
Monday, October 25, 2021
Dramatic video shows torrential rain, flooding during Bay Area storm
Here's a look at how the atmospheric river impacted cities across the Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The first big storm of the water year brought torrential rain and strong winds to the Bay Area on Sunday

Many Bay Area residents spent the last few days preparing for that moment, where now much of the Bay Area is under a Flood Advisory.

Creeks are full and many roads flooded:

Here's a look around the Bay Area as an atmospheric river drenched the region.


The North Bay was arguably hit the hardest from Sunday's torrential downpour.

Severe flooding struck cities like San Rafael and San Anselmo, causing some businesses to close.

In Marin County, San Rafael and San Anselmo were heavily impacted.

A San Rafael resident shows up water has risen to the third step of his front patio. He watched overnight as the water kept creeping higher.

Several streets throughout the city were closed, including here at 3rd and Lincoln:

Downtown San Anselmo was closed for at least five hours over flood concerns. Police drove through the area evacuating businesses as the sounded their alarm for a flood warning.

In Santa Rosa, some neighborhoods were forced to evacuate due to floods.

Sunday's storm brought heavy rain to Santa Rosa, where some neighborhoods had to be evacuated.

Others were left in situations like this one, where a car had to be pulled from a flooded ditch:

Wine county also had its issues, like this neighborhood in Yountville:


In San Francisco, the city saw problems from falling trees to flooded streets to major traffic jams.


In Martinez, residents were walking in water almost knee-deep.


Some of the South Bay was spared, relatively speaking compared to the rest of the Bay Area.

The 49ers dealt with the heavy rains down at Levi's Stadium ahead of their game.

Just take it from Sourdough Sam:

ABC7's Chris Alvarez was there as tarps collected puddles of water pre-game:


Some areas, like Milbrae, neighborhoods almost completely flooded.

"My whole garage is up to my kneecaps. Everything is floating around," said resident Trevor Stines.

For people living on Landing Lane in Millbrae, the storm hitting the Bay Area has been especially difficult.

Here's a list of more helpful pages as we navigate through the rest of the storm:

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

ABC7 News meteorologist Drew Tuma is providing live updates on the storm as it moves into the Bay Area on Sunday. You can watch on or on our ABC7 News Bay Area streaming apps for Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and AndroidTV.

POWER OUTAGES: Latest PG&E Information

EVACUATIONS: List of Bay Area evacuations

BUSINESS CLOSURES: Bay Area storm causes closures for Oakland Zoo, Alameda County Fair

Bay Area residents prepare for incoming storm

As the first big storm of the season heading our way, many Bay Area residents spent Saturday afternoon preparing.

'It's coming': North Bay neighbors ready for atmospheric river, prepare for possible flooding

The North Bay could receive a direct hit from the atmospheric river system and many neighbors are getting ready for lots of rain and possible flooding

The North Bay could receive a direct hit from the atmospheric river system and many neighbors are getting ready for lots of rain and possible flooding. Firefighters are ready to respond quickly to any emergency hoping for the best.

"That's as much as I can carry," said Julie Symons.

Julie Symons from San Anselmo and her son had no time to lose, they were filling as many sandbags as their car could carry ahead of the forecasted atmospheric river. Flooding is the biggest concern at Julie's new house.

"We're going to do the best we can and try to minimize the damage and soak up as much rain as we can, I'm worried about tonight," said Symons.

The free sandbag station was busy most of Saturday.

The Ross Valley Fire Department was taking no chances, metal floodgates were standing by at the firehouse in case of street flooding from nearby San Anselmo Creek.

"In short periods, the creek can rise really quickly with runoff," said Ross Valley Fire Battalion Chief Gavin Illingworth.

Locals know that all too well. On New Year's Eve 2005, an epic winter flood turned downtown into a river.

That event is now remembered and commemorated with plaques and a high water mark on the firehouse flagpole. New high-tech rain gauges now monitor creek levels, on Saturday it was low. As a precaution, fire crews now carry swift water rescue gear on their engines.

Dave Riccardi shoveled the last of the sand at a free station in Novato.

"Once it starts raining hard, it's going to come pouring down and flood my garage most likely," Riccardi said.

Over the past week, we found city public works crews across the North Bay clearing storm drains and unclogging others, preparing for the big storm.

"Every time there's a big storm the hair on our neck goes up, we don't sleep well," Illingworth added.

'We need this water desperately': North Bay residents welcome rain & prepare for potential floods

After the second driest year on record this weekend's heavy rain is giving North Bay residents hope.

After the second driest year on record this weekend's heavy rain is giving North Bay residents hope.

"We need this water desperately for our crops, our families and the community," said Lou Preston a Sonoma County resident and farmer.

For the past four decades Lou Preston has seen the impact of fires threatening his home and vineyard on the outskirts of Healdsburg.

Luz Pena: "Last time how close did the flames get to your property?

Lou Preston: "Two miles perhaps from here. If the wind shifted we probably would've been in trouble."

Tonight he's welcoming the rain while keeping a close eye on the nearby creeks.

"In this area we are in two creeks. We are in dry creek and Pena creek. They both can flood very dramatically and overrun some of our vineyards and roads," said Preston.

In June, Healdsburg had the highest water conservation rate in the state at 57 percent water reduction.

"We went into a stage 3 water restrictions for the city of Healdsburg it means there was no irrigation of landscaping period," said Healdsburg councilmember, David Hagele and added, "Having the initial rain that we had this week and then the bigger storm coming it means the rain it's soaked in which every little drop helps right now."

This weekend the city of Healdsburg is tracking their water retention ponds and the Russian river.

"We are definitely not out of the drought by any means. We are grateful and thankful for the water that is falling from the sky but from conservation measures we have to be aware that this might be it for the year," said Hagele.