Traffic delays, slippery roads, drenching rain impact Bay Area residents

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Traffic delays, slippery roads and drenching rains impact Bay Area residents
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The first storm in 190 days is rolling through the Bay Area and many are having to change holiday plans. Here's a look at the impact around the bay:

NOVATO, Calif. (KGO) -- The first storm in 190 days is rolling through the Bay Area and many are having to change holiday plans. Here's a look at the impact around the region:


Caltrans spokesperson Bart Ney says a maintenance team will be working in 12-hour shifts to respond around the clock as issues break out.

"As we get into the winter months we perform storm preparations in all areas where flooding can happen or where our projects are or maybe where there's been a recent fire. We clear the drainage and take a look at erosion control methods so that water runs off. We are prepared to deal with flooding," he said.

CHP also has all hands on deck. I-80 is where the majority of accidents take place during this time, according to the CHP.

All across the Bay Area, officers will be on what they call the maximum enforcement period. It starts this weekend for Thanksgiving.

They're expecting a lot more traffic to hit the area, which translates to more officers working.

"Those roadways they become slicker," said CHP Officer Kristopher Borer. "All those oils have settled to the bottom of the asphalt. They are coming up for that first rain."

The CHP also recommends keeping a three-car distance between your car and the ones in front of you.

"It's very important when you see water on the freeways to slow down but you don't want to slam on your brakes," Borer said. "Whenever you do that you put yourself in a situation where you can lose traction with the roadway surface and spin out of control. The best thing you can do is release the gas pedal and slowly press on the breaks."


For commuters on the water, it was all ship shape.

The ferries into and out of San Francisco were on time and had no issues. All of the ferries to Marin and the East Bay took off without a hitch.

The only advisory that was received was for the Tiburon ferry service, warning passengers that if the ferries can't land in Tiburon so passengers will be dropped off in Sausalito and then bussed the rest of the way.

Passengers tell ABC7 News they weren't worried about the ferries, only the choppy waters.



San Jose is ready for the first storm of the season. Crews with the city's departments of public works and transportation began preparing in the summer, long before the arrival of the rain.

As of Tuesday, more than 85% of the city's 32,000 storm inlets have been cleared of debris that could block sewer pipes or cause harm to our waterways.

"Residents and business owners can really help us out by raking and sweeping their leaves, picking them up and disposing of them when they have yard waste pick-up once a week," said Colin Hayne, spokesperson for the transportation department. "It is the property owner's responsibility to keep that area in front of their property clean."


As temperatures begin to drop, there's growing concern for the homeless in the Bay Area's largest city. Pastor Scott Wagers of the CHAM Deliverance Ministry spent Tuesday afternoon with a team of volunteers distributing tarps, blankets, and clothing to those in need. Last year, more than 150 homeless people died on the streets of San Jose.

"This is where the rubber meets the road and nights like tonight are where you win or lose the battle," said Wagers. "Those blankets literally can save a life, and tonight, when it gets cold and starts to rain, and you think of people that have pre-existing health conditions... it's just a formula for death, and it happens."

Want to help? The ministry is accepting tarps, blankets, and clothing as donations. Pastor Wagers is also raising money to launch his "Mercy Mobile" which will bring more services to the homeless. You can donate here.


The predicted storm has some Bay Area residents changing their Thanksgiving plans.

"We typically go up to South Lake Tahoe but with this big snow event coming in it doesn't make sense to get stuck in the snow," said Wendell Counts of Vacaville. "And then on Saturday and Sunday another event coming in and get stuck in the snow coming back home."

Jamie Haigh of Greenbrae is also switching gears.

"I was planning to go to Reno to rope for the weekend, rope some calves and go team rope," she said. "But I think with the storm coming in the weather is going to make Donner Pass pretty bad to get over with a horse trailer. I will probably just stay home."

Here at home, people are clearing out hardware stores of protective gear like tarps and rooftop patches. City crews are busily trying to clear streets of leaves before they end up clogging storm drains.

Those who had planned to stay local, are feeling very happy about their itinerary.

"We go from Ross to Kentfield- no problem with the rain," said Charlie Goodman of Ross.

Charlie Goodman felt pretty good about that short drive as he checked the news in the morning.

"I looked at the weather this morning across the country," he said. "Everywhere there is severe weather but we need the rain here so...I'm looking forward to it."

Those who cancelled say they're disappointed but know it's for the best

"The first winter snow you get a lot of crazy people doing crazy things and not being prepared," Counts said. "But it's nice to see the snow- we will go up later."

Haigh added, "Yeah, I am a little bummed. Entry fees during the winter are much cheaper than the summer so it's nice to go. But you can't really control the weather and we need to rain so it's good."

For those driving in the North Bay, remember -- it is no longer summer.

As we reported the day before, many behind the wheel drive their cars as if it was still summer.

Remember to bring umbrellas, check your wipers, check your tires, and bid farewell to that old new normal.

A newer one has arrived.

Watch the latest AccuWeather forecast and take a look at recent weather stories and videos.

ABC7's Amy Hollyfield, Wayne Freedman, Luz Pena, Chris Nguyen and Vic Lee contributed to this report.