Strongest storm in years brings torrential rain, flooding to Bay Area

ByABC7 News Staff KGO logo
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Biggest storm in years brings flooding to Bay Area
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Here's a look at how the atmospheric river impacted cities across the Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There's flooding and damage across the Bay Area from the biggest storm to hit the region in years.

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

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

INTERVIEW: PG&E on how to better prepare for power outages, latest following major Bay Area storm


The storm ranks as the 4th wettest in San Francisco history, with records dating back to the Gold Rush era.

On Sunday, the city saw problems from falling trees to flooded streets to major traffic jams.

In the aftermath Monday, residents woke up to find several hundred fallen trees and debris across the city. The saturated ground and the strong winds forced many trees to topple over. According to the Department of Public Works, more than 700 big branches and fallen trees were reported throughout the city.

RELATED: More than 700 branches, fallen trees scattered throughout SF after Sunday storm

DPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon says keep your head on a swivel, because there could be more falling trees to come.

"As long as the ground is saturated, it's likely that there's going to be some more trees failing in the next couple of days, so just keep an eye for that, let us know and our crews will get there," she said.

A scaffolding was also toppled over into the street by strong wind and rain.

This Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 image shows a scaffolding that was knocked over during a strong storm in San Francisco.
This Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 image shows a scaffolding that was knocked over during a strong storm in San Francisco.


In Orinda, a mudslide oozed onto the courts and collapsed a fence at a swim and tennis club as an overwhelming amount of rain fell.

Homeowner, Paul Henderson, had a huge Hawthorne tree come crashing into his house at 3a.m. on Monday. Thankfully not smashing windows, but certainly creating chaos.

"We've seen a lot of trees, Acacia trees, Monterey Pines and eucalyptus coming down with the big storm we had. It was really unexpected. So, we have multiple calls. Our crews are dispatched all the way from Orinda to Tiburon," said Julian Cabrera Ramirez with Julian Tree Care said:

A map from Contra Costa County shows totals across the region topping six inches in Danville, Rossmoor and atop Mt. Diablo. Nearly seven inches fell in Moraga.

The debris flows were enormous. Usually an early season storm has lighter rain. Even though county public works crews were prepared this monster storm overwhelmed them, clogging drains and flooding roads. It was all cleaned up overnight.

VIDEO: Trees fall down, mudslide oozes, debris flows in East Bay following major storm

Flooding I-880 to be closed in both directions in Fremont early Monday. At least half a dozen drivers saw their cars stranded in high water. All lanes were reopened after 9 a.m.

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


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

The winds were so strong in the area that they blew over a truck on the Richmond Bridge Sunday, bringing traffic to a crawl.

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.

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:

On Monday, there are few signs around Downtown San Rafael about Sunday's flooding.

There are a some tree branches on the floor. People sweeping away leaves. But most of the streets are dry.

But on Sunday, 3rd Street was completely flooded. Even though few businesses got flooded, many do have internet outages which is affecting credit card transactions.

"We do only cash. We don't take credit cards because we don't have internet," said Jose Chi, manager at Los Moles.

"Their cars won't start. Flooded. There is a lot of damage all around," said Jonathan Dahan, from House of Brakes, which was getting plenty of calls about people with car issues.

"What people don't understand is that your car might make it through (flood waters), but most cars, the intake for the air is where the bumper is... so when you do absorb the water, you bend the piston rods and you have severe engine damage," he added.

"We had 14 inches in 24 hours. It was crazy. It was the strongest rain I have experienced in the 11 years that I have lived here," said Brandon Thomas, a Kentfield resident.

In Woodacre, crews were busy chopping up a giant white oak that toppled over - crushing two bedrooms in this house. "We are just very grateful that we were not in our bed at the time because if we were we would be dead," said the resident, who did not want to be identified.

She is worried. Not so much about the damage, but about what this storm foretells about climate change in the Bay Area.

Marin County recovering from Sunday's storm


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.

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

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