Live storm updates: High winds continue to topple trees, cause power outages in Bay Area

ByABC7 News Staff KGO logo
Thursday, March 16, 2023
Timeline: Heaviest rain and strongest winds are behind us, for now
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The heaviest rain and the strongest winds are behind us now. Scattered showers will continue through Tuesday night and the winds will remain gusty.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Another atmospheric river is taking aim at the San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to the region.

ABC7 Meteorologist Drew Tuma says flooding on roadways and in streams will happen faster than last Friday because the ground is saturated and runoff will begin almost immediately.

STORM TIMELINE: Another atmospheric river heading to Bay Area

Power Outages

Here are the latest power outage numbers from PG&E as of 9:30 p.m.

San Francisco: 262

Peninsula: 43,941

North Bay: 2,953

East Bay: 40,462

South Bay: 112,962

Total: 201,230

Road Closures

As of 8 p.m. Monday, CHP reports the following road closures resulting from wet weather conditions throughout the Bay Area:

San Mateo County

CA-84 westbound between Portola Rd to Fox Hill road in San Mateo County. All lanes are blocked, due to an emergency road closure.

US-101 southbound at Broadway, HOV lane is closed due to flooding.

CAL FIRE says as of 12:45 p.m., Highway 92 is closed near Half Moon Bay. Find an alternate route.

Santa Clara County

US-101 southbound between Pacheco Pass Hwy and First street in Gilroy. Right lane remains blocked, due to flooding.

CA-9 northbound and southbound between Sanborn to Redwood gulch road. in Santa Clara County. All lanes blocked in both directions, due to a landslide.

Ca-152 at Holohan Rd in Santa Clara county. All lanes blocked in both directions, due to flooding.

Marin County

As of 5:34 p.m., eastbound I-580 through the end of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge has reopened to all traffic after being closed due to a overturned big rig, the CHP said.

The highway was closed for hours as crews worked to clear the big rig blocking the lanes.


5:10 p.m.

As rain hammered parts of the North Bay, the wind was a beast of its own, forcing down trees, debris and trash cans, while utility workers struggled to work through the rain.

This, while some homes, were inches away from disaster in the Woodacre neighborhood.

"We have a tree that's about to go down on our house and I'm just grateful we're okay," Jodie Gualco, a Woodacre resident said.

Gualco has lived here for 31 years, but Tuesday morning, was forced to grab her two dogs and husband and evacuate over fear of a tree, at least 120 feet tall, giving way and falling on her home at any moment.

"Got my babies out, my little dogs, and we have a cat in there," she said. "It's crazy, trees are falling down, the ground is saturated and with all of the gusts, we worry, we usually leave and I'm glad we did this time."

It's a story familiar for her neighbor, Gary Holsher. The same thing happened to his home about 15 years ago and to his car, just last year.

"I've been looking out the window, it's like a freight train coming through your house, it's just one of those things you never forget, the shaking of it, the feeling of it and the sound of it, it's pretty terrifying," Holsher said.

5:00 p.m.
Calls for pothole repair, damage dramatically increasing during 2023 storms

Almost constant rain in 2023 and now back-to-back atmospheric rivers this month has led to some serious damage on our roadways, especially potholes. It doesn't take you long to drive around San Jose to find a pothole on a city street. They not only can cause drivers to swerve out of the way, possibly leading to accidents. But if you do hit one, you may end up at a tire repair shop.

The team at Bruce's Tire and Auto Service in San Jose says they have been receiving 50 calls a day in repairs. Meanwhile, the city's Department of Transportation is trying to keep up with demand as well. Reports of potholes have quadrupled during our most recent rainstorms according to the DOT. Crews can fix potholes in the rain and it takes under two business days to complete repairs.

"We are really working our field crews," San Jose Dept. of Transportation PIO Colin Heyne said. "They are committed to the job of keeping people safe. So, they're out there, around the clock dealing with all kinds of storm impacts. And, as I said, potholes are one of the top priorities."

4:30 p.m.
3 rescued from floodwaters in Sonoma County

In Sonoma County, three people, including an 8-year-old boy, were rescued from their van after getting trapped in floodwaters on Armstrong Woods Road in Guerneville.

In Sonoma County, three people, including an 8-year-old boy, were rescued from their van after getting trapped in floodwaters on Armstrong Woods Road in Guerneville.

Despite warning signs posted on the road, ABC7 News witnessed the van attempt to drive through rising waters. After a few yards, it got stuck. Rescue crews from the Sonoma County Fire Protection District used their inflatable rescue boat to get the three people to safety.

"We thought we could get through and we can't, so my advice: don't ever go through water - ever," Jessica, one of the rescued passengers, said as she made it to dry land.

Captain Shawn Johnson, with Sonoma County Fire District 9, said the passengers were lucky the floodwaters didn't overtake their car.

"Yes, definitely could have been worse," he said. "Our message is: if there's a road sign that says don't go through, or there's flooded water, please avoid the area."

The atmospheric river brought a deluge of rain throughout Sonoma County. It was a treacherous drive getting into Guerneville, including several mudslides by the river.

In Santa Rosa, crews were clearing a giant tree that toppled overnight causing a neighborhood to lose power.

"Sounded like something thudding, and at the same time there were two flashes," resident Bob Doxbory told ABC7 News.

Doxbory is from England and said he isn't fazed by the recent weather.

"I grew up just outside of Manchester. This is a Tuesday," Doxbory quipped.

Asked what his advice would be for weather wimpy Californians, he replied: "I would say, take a winter vacation to Manchester and come back and you'll never complain again."

2:45 p.m.
Multiple trees down on SF State campus

Golden Gate Xpress shared photos after 48 mph winds left multiple trees down on the SF State campus, one of which fell on a campus maintenance vehicle.

2:30 p.m.
BART experiencing major delays due to track issues from high winds

BART said Tuesday that it is experiencing major delays systemwide due to track issues likely from the high winds across the Bay Area.

2 p.m.
Ground stop at SFO returns to ground delay, with planes waiting at gates, tarmac

San Francisco International Airport said Tuesday afternoon that a ground stop is now a ground delay, with airplanes waiting at gates and on the tarmac due to strong winds. Be sure to check your flights.

11:55 a.m.
Downed tree closes all southbound lanes in Millbrae

There is a sig alert for southbound Interstate 280 in Millbrae.

It's closed right now at Millbrae Ave. in Millbrae due to a downed tree that's blocking all four lanes.

No word yet when the road might reopen. Alternative routes include Highway 101 and even El Camino Real.

11:30 a.m.
Flash Flood Warning including Felton and Paradise Park until 12:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service says there is a Flash Flood Warning in Felton and Paradise Park in Santa Cruz County until 12:15 p.m.

11 a.m.
North Bay residents wake up to strong winds, powerful rain, power outage

A couple hundred Santa Rosa residents woke up to strong winds, powerful rain, and a power outage.

A couple hundred Santa Rosa residents woke up to strong winds, powerful rain, and a power outage. "I had some projects to due this morning at home and I can't do them," resident Julia Landecker said. "I work with glass and I need a lot of electricity."

Landecker is one of an estimated 700 residents living near Orchard Street near Spencer Avenue, impacted after a large tree fell at 3:30 in the morning.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," she said. "I told my daughter last night, I bet some trees come down."

It created a weather domino effect of sorts, as the tree took down and split a PG&E pole, damaged two cars and a street sign. There was an early morning detour, as residents were kept from the damage.

"Water is such a powerful thing," Resident Lynn Langford described. "It's amazing!"

We met Langford along Cooper Drive, where the same wet weather conditions are keeping Santa Rosa Fire and city crews on alert. They're monitoring hour by hour movement of a sliding hillside there.

Two homes at the bottom of the hill have already been red-tagged, and residents recognize the dangerous conditions as days of downpour continue.

"The hillside looks like a river, slowly coming down. We watched it a couple days ago. It's just every couple of seconds, more mud comes down," Langford said. "The whole hillside is disturbed and you can tell there's a whole river of water running underneath it."

6:30 a.m.
Ground delay at SFO

The FAA issued a ground delay for US flights at SFO because of the heavy rain and flooding. It started at 8:45 a.m. and will continue until midnight.

Flight Aware is showing 166 flights have been delayed and 12 flights cancelled so far Tuesday. Those taking to the skies are feeling the impact.

Some travelers at San Francisco International Airport are finding out their flights were delayed. This after the FAA implemented a ground delay program at SFO because of rain and winds. The Dubey family from Austin is flying to Salt Lake City for some skiing, but now they'll have to wait a little longer. "We checked the flight this morning and it was like oh there's an hour and a half delay. So we're like we're already on the way to the airport so might as well just wait," Aryana Dubey said. "It's kind of inconvenient because we wanted to get to Salt Lake City to get all our ski gear and get situated but now it's just getting delayed."

San Francisco resident Danica Cadelina is going to San Diego to visit her mom. But her Alaska Airlines flight was delayed almost two hours. "I don't want it to take up my whole day," she said. "I really want to see my mom and we're flying again tomorrow. So I hope I don't have another delay tomorrow."

San Francisco resident Steven Ortega is relieved his Breeze Airways flight to San Bernardino was still scheduled to be on time when we talked to him. "I was worried, I've been checking my flight status and checking BART make sure I got here on time, a little early. Everything so far looks good.."

The FAA is showing delays are averaging 80 minutes, but a spokesperson at SFO tells me delays are averaging 54 minutes and that could rise as the day progresses.

SFO is recommending you download your airline's mobile app so you'll know about any delays or cancellations.

5 a.m.
Jackknifed big rig causes backup on I-680 in East Bay

A big rig was stuck on I-680 near Pleasanton after jackknifing due to the slippery road conditions, causing traffic issues in the East Bay.

As of 6:20 a.m., CHP has opened up all lanes of NB I-680 near Pleasanton after a jackknifed big rig closed down the highway. The incident was before Castlewood Blvd. All traffic was diverted off at SR84 and traffic was backed up for miles.

4:30 a.m.
It may take a week for Monterey Co. crews to complete rock barrier

Crews are working 24 hours a day building a rock barrier to slow the water flow into the Pajaro community, where residents were evacuated after the Pajaro River levee was breached overnight Friday due to the heavy rainstorm.

In an update late Monday from Monterey County officials, crews will need about a week to complete the rock barrier, intended to reduce the breach from getting wider and slow the flow of water.

The California Department of Water Resources is overseeing this work in coordination with the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, according to the county's announcement.

A second breech occurred Sunday night along the river about one mile from the mouth of the river. The water from this breech is flowing back into the river and out into the ocean, officials said in the announcement.

More on Monterey County flooding and evacuations here.


11 p.m.
Construction worker says he's losing $1,000 a week due to wet weather

We asked construction worker Hector Hernandez, "How much money do you think you've lost by not being able to work?" His reply, "A $1,000 a week."

A slow and steady sprinkle or drizzle fell in Santa Rosa Monday night. Many of those we spoke with told us they're looking forward to drier weather.

"I'm definitely ready for it to be done with. I'm more of a summer kind of person," said Austin Vario of Santa Rosa.

Construction worker Hector Hernandez told us he has been unable to work for the last three weeks because of the wet conditions. We asked him, "How much money do you think you've lost by not being able to work?" His reply, "A $1,000 a week."

Some workers are doing well though. Cookie delivery driver Patrick Palmer told us the calls keep coming in.

"Probably about 20% busier. Deliveries are big everyone wants to stay home you know," said Palmer.

6:30 p.m.
New evacuation warnings issued for Watsonville

In addition to evacuation warnings for parts of the county put out by the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office on Monday, Watsonville has issued new warnings as of 6 p.m.

Additional evacuation warnings have been issued for people living along Corralitos Creek and near the Pajaro River in Watsonville.

Shelters have been set up for people leaving their residences at the Watsonville Veterans Memorial Building, 215 E. Beach St., and the Cabrillo College Gymnasium, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos.

6:10 p.m.
Evacuation warnings issued for parts of Santa Cruz Co.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff has issued evacuation warnings for several areas of the county in anticipation of upcoming weather, the office said on Monday.

Neighborhoods including Paradise Park, Felton Grove, Soquel Village and the College/Lake Area of Watsonville should be on alert.

The official zones that face the highest risk of flooding are FEL-E008, FEL-E012, CRZ-E081; CTL E014-B, E015-B, EO18-A, E019-B; PAJ-E015-B, E024-B, E027-B, E026 AND E028.

Residents can look up their zones here.

4 p.m.
Oakland Zoo announces closure on Tuesday due to storm

The Oakland Zoo announced on Twitter it will be closed on Tuesday, March 14 in preparation for more heavy rain and wind coming to the Bay Area.

The zoo says visitors will be given a refund and will take three to four weeks to process.

12 p.m.
Newsom adds 6 more counties to state of emergency proclamation

Governor Gavin Newsom over the weekend added six more counties, including San Joaquin County, to those under a state of emergency to assist in storm response and relief efforts.

Previously, Newsom had proclaimed a state of emergency in 34 counties during recent atmospheric rivers and storms. As of Sunday, Calaveras, Del Norte, Glenn, Kings, San Benito and San Joaquin were added to the list.

The governor's proclamation will support impacted residents throughout the covered counties to waive fees to replace records such as marriage and birth certificates, as well as provide flexibility to help hospitals and care facilities continue to provide services, according to a press release from the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

8:30 a.m.
Hwy 9 closed in Saratoga due to fallen rocks, trees

State Highway 9 was closed at Booker Creek Road in Saratoga on Monday morning due to fallen rocks and a downed tree.

Caltrans said in a Tweet at 7:32 a.m. that the highway is closed in both directions. Drivers were advised to take alternate routes.

There was no estimate for when the scene would be clear.


9 p.m.
Flooding forces evacuations in Monterey Co. after levee breach with more heavy rain expected Monday

Search and rescue efforts intensified Sunday in Monterey County where there was a 120-foot wide levee breach early Saturday along the Pajaro River. First responders have rescued close to 200 people. "I can tell you at least close to 800 homes have been impacted by this flood. This is about as bad as you can get and the water is still rising." Full story here.

6 p.m.
North Bay first responders assist with Monterey Co. flooding evacuations

First responders from the North Bay are assisting with evacuations due to flooding in Monterey County. The small town Pajaro is under six feet of flood water, after a levee failure on the Pajaro River.

First responders from the North Bay are assisting with evacuations due to flooding in Monterey County. The small town of Pajaro is under six feet of flood water, after a levee failure on the Pajaro River.

"The entire community of Parajo is inundated," said Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Graham Groneman. "It's (Water is) still coming through the community, until they get it shored up and fixed, I don't see an easy solution to getting that water out of there."

4 p.m.
California secures federal assistance for winter storm response, recovery

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Sunday afternoon that the White House approved a Presidential Emergency Declaration, which authorizes federal assistance to support the state and local response to recent winter storms.

"We are grateful for President Biden's swift action to provide more resources and assistance to Californians reeling from back-to-back storms," Newsom said in a statement. "We also thank all the heroic first responders working tirelessly to save lives in these dangerous and challenging conditions. California will continue to work day and night with local, state and federal partners to protect and support our communities."

The Presidential Emergency Declaration allows impacted counties to immediately access Direct Federal Assistance to help protect public safety and property. This includes generators, road clearance equipment and sheltering or mass care assistance as needed.

With storms forecasted to continue through mid-March, Newsom issued a state of emergency in 21 counties to support disaster response and relief efforts this week, following the state of emergency he proclaimed in an initial 13 counties earlier this month.

2:40 p.m.
Capitol Corridor to bypass Fremont, Hayward stations due to flooding

Capitol Corridor, which provides transit from San Jose to Auburn, said that its trains will bypass the Hayward and Fremont stations until further notice due to flooding.

11 a.m.
Flooding causes closures on I-880 in Hayward, Fremont CHP says

Drivers traveling northbound on Interstate 880 will have to consider alternative routes, as the roadway between Fremont and Union City is closed, announced California Highway Patrol officials on Sunday morning.

The highway is closed from Mowry Avenue in Union City to Alvarado-Niles Road in Fremont due to flooding.

Local law enforcement encourages residents to avoid the area if possible. There is no estimated time for reopening.

California High Patrol announced closures of I-880 in Hayward due to flooding. Officers are currently on the scene with Caltrans.

I-880 northbound, south of Thornton Avenue, lanes #2-4 are closed.

I-880 southbound, south of Thornton Avenue, lane #4 is closed.

9 a.m.
Flood Advisories issued for several parts of Bay Area: NWS

The National Weather Service issued Flood Advisories for several parts of the Bay Area Sunday morning.

A Flood Advisory for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties is in effect until 2:30 p.m. NWS says that heavy rain will continue this morning and into the early afternoon. This may cause minor flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas, and area creeks and streams.

A Flood Advisory for Sonoma Co. is in effect until noon. NWS says an additional 1/4" to 1/2" of rainfall is expected this morning. This will keep water levels elevated on the Mark West, Santa Rosa and Laguna de Santa Rosa creeks.


8:30 p.m.
Salinas River in Monterey County downgrades evacuation order to a warning

Monterey County emergency response officials have just downgraded an evacuation order for the Salinas River to an evacuation warning, according to a county spokesperson.

This evacuation order was announced by the county as of 8 p.m. Saturday.

The downgrade came at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

6:30 p.m.
Pajaro River levee breach now 120 feet wide

The levee breach along the Pajaro River, upstream from the Monterey County community of Pajaro, is now 120 feet wide as of early Saturday evening, according to county officials.

The breach occurred just before midnight late Friday evening.

The water is flowing freely through the breach, according to Maia Carroll, a spokesperson for Monterey County. She added that state and local engineers are assessing the situation and determining next steps.

Overnight Friday to Saturday, emergency personnel conducted more than 90 rescues in the area, Carroll said. Door-to-door evacuation notifications began at approximately 3 pm. Friday to connect with residents who may not have left when emergency notices were issued.

As of Saturday evening, residents who have not leave the area are still encouraged to do so. MST buses are providing free transportation to shelters, and temporary evacuation points. Pick up location is at the Pajaro Golf Course.

Carroll said high-water vehicles, dive and search and rescue and mutual support agencies are working in the area. No deaths or injuries have been reported.

1 p.m.
Evacuation Warnings lifted for Big Sur, Carmel Valley, Bolsa Knolls, officials say

Evacuation warnings have been lifted for all areas of Big Sur River, Carmel Valley and Bolsa Knolls in Monterey County, the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services said Saturday afternoon.

The warnings have been lifted effective immediately, according to the emergency services office.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office shortly before noon Saturday issued an evacuation warning for areas of the Salinas River to go into effect immediately until further notice.

Zones E-0016 and E-0021 are under evacuation warning.

Sheriff's officials said those with who have large animals or need extra time to evacuate should do so immediately.

An evacuation warning means those in a specific area should be prepared to evacuate at any time. When such a warning is issued, those in affected zones do not need to leave their homes at that time but should be alert and prepared to leave if an evacuation order is called.

10:15 a.m.
State Route 84 closed in both directions in San Mateo Co. due to sinkhole: Caltrans

Highway 84 is closed in both directions at Portola Road to Skyline Boulevard says Caltrans and San Mateo County Sheriff. Officials said a landslide caused major damage to the roadway and that there is no estimated time for reopening.

10 a.m.
Flash Flood Warning issued for Pajaro River, town in Monterey Co., NWS says

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for the Pajaro River and the town of Pajaro in Monterey County effective immediately until 11:45 a.m. Saturday.

Major life-threatening flooding is forecast, county officials said Saturday morning.

The flash flood warning affects the Pajaro River levee breach area and Township of Pajaro to the Pacific Ocean, according to the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services.

9 a.m.
Flood Warning issued for Salinas River in Monterey Co., NWS says

A flood warning is continuing to be in effect for the Salinas River near Bradley affecting Monterey County, the National Weather Service said Saturday morning.

Minor flooding is forecast for the Salinas River, according to the weather service.

The weather service cautioned motorists not to drive around barricades or drive cars through flooded areas.

Drivers should be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding, the weather service said.

Additional information is available here.

8 a.m.
Pajaro levee breaks in Monterey Co., prompting evacuations

The Pajaro River levee was breached overnight on Friday night, prompting evacuations.

The Pajaro River levee was breached overnight on Friday night, prompting evacuations.

The levee was breached at about midnight, according to a news release from the Monterey County Health Department.

Teams from the county's water resources agency and state department of water resources were onsite at the time attempting flood-fighting efforts.

Evacuations of most of the Pajaro community were ordered just before midnight and expanded shortly after to include all flood zones in the Pajaro area.

National Guard high-water rescue vehicles were stationed in the area to help the evacuation effort, which included door-to-door checks from Monterey County sheriff's deputies, Cal Fire crews and North Monterey County firefighters.

Repairs to the levee are expected to take place on Saturday during daylight hours.

There are emergency evacuation shelters at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, located at 2601 East Lake Ave., in Watsonville, in the Crosetti Building, and at the Compass Church, located at 10325 S. Main Street, in Salinas.

Residents can get a ride to a shelter at a temporary evacuation point, which are located at the Prunedale Library, at 17822 Moro Rd., the Carmel Valley Library, at 65 W. Carmel Valley Rd., and the King City Library, at 402 Broadway St.

For assistance with animals, the SPCA can be reached at 831-373-2631, and after normal hours at 831-646-5534.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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