Rain swollen creeks cause roads, vineyards to flood in North Bay

Byby Melanie Woodrow KGO logo
Friday, March 11, 2016
Rain swollen creeks cause roads, vineyards to flood in North Bay
Friday brought less rain than expected, so the National Weather Service canceled a flood warning for the Napa and Russian Rivers, but flooding from creeks has been a concern.

A strong storm hit the Bay Area on Friday, causing flooding, downed trees, and mudslides in parts of the region.

Rain is creating problems in the North Bay and not just on the roads. Several schools in Sonoma County shut down for the day and residents there kept a close eye on river levels.

In the South Bay, the umbrellas were out as people tried to stay dry during Friday mornings heavy downpour. And in San Francisco flooding closed southbound lanes of the Great Highway near Golden Gate Park.

WATCH VIDEO: Track the rain on Live Doppler 7 HD radar

Crews in Napa County will keep a close eye on river and creek levels this weekend.

Homes near Hopper Creek are now just feet from the water. Many waterways are swollen with more rainfall on the way.

Friday brought less rain than expected, so the National Weather Service canceled a flood warning for the Napa and Russian Rivers, but flooding from creeks has been a concern.

PHOTOS: Rain, storms hit Bay Area during 2016 El Nino season

In the North Bay flooding has been the main issue. Wohler Road and a nearby vineyard have been closed all day due to flooding.

The Heilands stepped out in Guerneville Friday night to see just how high Russian River was getting.

"That yellow gate over there, when it gets up there it's starting to make people nervous," Heiland said. When the river rises their home floods. "We live next to a creek that cannot empty into this river too well with it overflowing, so that's the problem there," he said.

WATCH VIDEO: Watch Accuweather Forecast

From homes to downtown businesses, the river's level is setting the bar for the weekend. According to the rainy day schedule at River Jewelers if it gets too high they stay closed.

Longtime residents like Elizabeth Hasley say they're relieved for now. "We heard that it's not going to be as disastrous as much of a flood zone as was predicted," Hasley said.

Still restaurants and hotels are giving customers the option to opt out without penalty. "We want to be flexible this is not the ideal weather," said Denis Lindsay, drink manager at Boon Eat.

In Forestville, wet weather created soggy grounds and flooded streets, making Wohler Road impassable.

And while the ducks don't seem to mind, Heiland says he's considering moving. "Thinking about it now," Heiland said. Though he does say there are a lot of fun things to do on the river, if he can just make it till summer.

Others made the best of the rain and flooding. A group of guys decided to wakeboard their way down Eastside Road because they could. "Can't wait until summer time. We were getting bored with all this rain and we figure we'd put it to good use. It's been working out," said Amir Mashhour, a Sonoma County resident. They plan to wakeboard all weekend.

WATCH VIDEO: Man wakeboards down flooded Sonoma County road

The Shoreline Unified School District in Marin and Sonoma counties closed all schools due to flooding and road conditions, but officials said the schools will reopen Monday. The schools that temporarily closed included Bodega Bay School, Inverness Primary, Tomales Elementary School, Tomales High School and West Marin School. Four other schools in Sonoma County also closed Friday, they are Guerneville school in Guerneville, Harmony Elementary and Salmon Creek Charter in Occidental, and Monte Rio Union School in Monte Rio.

Marin County is also very wet and while water levels were rising it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

On San Anselmo Creek Friday some took advantage of the rising waters. Stefan Fayl and Jeremy Bouche prepared to test the waters.

"We were thinking a raft at first, but we couldn't get the raft," Bouche said.

WATCH VIDEO: Duo boards down raging San Anselmo Creek

Spring Lake in Sonoma County is closed. Storm water is spilling across the trail at creek crossings and inching into parking lots. Several campgrounds in the area are also closed because of flooding concerns.

Marin County also had its share of weather woes. On Molino Avenue in Mill Valley a bay tree fell and brought down power lines. Local roads and highways suffered a full compliment of fender benders. On Highway 101 near North San Pedro Road one car went off the embankment, took out a light box and rolled. The driver was OK.

Lake County officials are reporting some positive news in the wake of the storms. So far, there's no significant damage in the burn areas from last summer's Valley, Rocky and Jerusalem wildfires. County officials credit that news to public works crews, who prepared the areas ahead of time by clearing brush and debris out of streams and creeks as well as sandbagging high-risk mudslide areas.

READ MORE: The ABC7 News Storm Impact Scale explained

An enormous tree slammed into an Oakland Hills home Friday night damaging the home so badly it's now uninhabitable.

The tree is about six-feet in diameter and 80-feet tall. No one was home when it came crashing down on Brunell Drive, just east of Holy Names University.

This image shows an enormous tree that slammed into an Oakland, Calif. home on Brunell Drive March 12, 2016.

It ripped down power lines as it fell, knocking out power to the neighborhood. Crews will clear it from the street tonight and work Saturday to clean up the rest of the mess.

The rain made driving treacherous through some low-lying roads. A pool of water that accumulated on Alemany Boulevard in San Francisco underneath Highway 101 on a stretch of road that tends to flood frequently.

Passengers at San Francisco International Airport discovered 68 flights were cancelled. Wind and rain. Delays of about two hours were expected on short haul flights at SFO. No major delays were reported at Mineta San Jose or Oakland International Airports.

PG&E is working to restore power to customers across the Bay Area.

The biggest outage affects 1,091 homes and businesses in Oakland. Six hundred and eighty customers are without power near occidental in Sonoma County. Another 639 are in the dark in Boulder Creek, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. PG&E crews are also dealing with many smaller outages elsewhere.

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