Storm prompts flash flood warnings, topples trees

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Thursday, December 11, 2014
Heavy rain floods part of downtown Healdsburg
Heavy rain flooded part of downtown Healdsburg on Thursday. And while some streets are drying out, down by the river it could get worse as more rain makes its way downstream.

A storm bringing torrential rains and hurricane force winds is now slamming the Bay Area. It's prompted a Flash Flood Warning for San Mateo County, and has brought some of the windiest and rainiest conditions to the region in more than five years. The storm knocked out power to tens of thousands and delayed commuters while soaking the region.

ABC7 Meteorologist Sandhya Patel says heavy rain is likely to cause creek flooding in San Mateo County. She added that a High Surf Advisory has been extended until 4 p.m. Friday.

WATCH LIVE: Track the storm moving through the Bay Area with Live Doppler 7 HD radar maps

Throughout the Bay Area, waves slammed onto waterfronts, ferries were bound to their docks, many schools canceled classes and the gusting winds had motorists tightly gripping their steering wheels on the Golden Gate Bridge, where managers created a buffer zone to prevent head-on collisions by swerving cars.

A power outage in San Francisco forced the closure of the Montgomery BART station for six hours. Riders had to get off either at Embarcadero or Powell Street station and walk in the rain. Flooding was the big problem at the San Bruno BART station, where clogged drains flooded the ticketing area. The station was closed for nearly two hours while crews mopped up the water.

TRANSPORTATION UPDATE: For the latest impacts to public transportation, click here.

There were major delays at the San Francisco International Airport. Some 240 flights were canceled and most of them were short flights along the west coast. Flight Aware says delays at SFO are averaging between 30 minutes to an hour. There are currently no delays at Oakland or San Jose. Some airlines are allowing passengers to re-book their flight without any change fees.

At one point, Pacific Gas & Electric reported more than 276,000 customers were without power in the Bay Area. At least, 66,400 lost power in San Francisco. About 3,100 PG&E customers lost power in the East Bay, 1,100 in the Peninsula, 2,900 in the North Bay, and 2,800 in the South Bay.

POWER OUTAGE UPDATE: For the latest power outages throughout the Bay, click here.

Power outage causes Union Square shops to close

The National Weather Service declared flash flood and high wind warnings for much of the Bay Area today and said winds could reach 45 mph with gusts of up to 70 mph.

The governor's Office of Emergency Services has activated the state's emergency operation center today and for the next few days to support cities and counties impacted by a storm tearing through the Bay Area.

PHOTOS: Severe storm hits the Bay Area

San Francisco

The Embarcadero in San Francisco has reopened Thurday morning after being closed briefly due to flooding.

The road was closed from Pier 39 all the way to AT&T Park, according to police. Water had been coming over the seawall along the street, prompting the closure. The road reopened at about 9:15 a.m.

Flooding has also been reported on U.S. Highway 101 near Cesar Chavez Street, by the corner of Geary Boulevard and Fillmore Street, Third Avenue and Lake Street and at Sunset Boulevard and Wawona Street, where a traffic signal is out.

Fisherman's Wharf was nearly empty Thursday. There was no power at the wharf and many businesses and restaurants closed. The restaurants that did open used candles to give customers light.


Southbound Highway 280 at Sneath Lane in San Bruno was flooded early Thursday morning. One car was turned around. Traffic was barely getting by on the shoulder.

Further south, police have been helping drivers stuck in the flood water in Belmont. The water under a overpass on Ralston Avenue near El Camino was so deep a car stalled. A police officer came to the driver's rescue and pushed the stalled car out of the deep water and off to the side of the road.

North Bay

The North Bay got hit with by the storm the earliest and the hardest. The heavy rain has flooded part of downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma County. The floodwaters were so high at a Safeway parking lot that many residents came out to paddle in their canoes and kayaks. And while some streets are drying out, down by the river it could get worse as more rain makes its way downstream.

About 20-minutes away from Healdsburg, there was a rockslide that made one road is impassable. Crews there in and around Cloverdale have been dealing with similar problems throughout the day.

Wineries in Napa were closed Thursday and many vineyards were flooded.

Wineries and vineyards in Napa were flooded Thursday.

A section of State Highway 1 in Marin County has collapsed, forcing the closure of all southbound lanes from Muir Beach to Muir Woods Road according to the California Highway Patrol.

A severe traffic alert has been issued for the area and drivers are being warned to avoid the area and expect delays.

The collapsed section of roadway is not expected to reopen until March, officials said.

Marin County officials announced Thursday evening that flood waters were finally receding, which was good news for Novato residents who spent the day monitoring their backyards for flooding.

VIDEO: Novato yards flood due to severe storm

South Bay

In Santa Cruz, about an hour south of San Francisco, an elementary school student was trapped for about 15 minutes when an 80-foot tree fell on him, pinning his arm and shoulder until rescuers with chain saws cut it apart. He was taken to a hospital in good condition but likely a fractured arm, officials said.

In San Jose, a large tree fell on a car and a house. Firefighters received a report at 7:41 a.m. about a downed tree that fell atop the vehicle and house in the 2300 block of Boxwood Drive at Monroe Street. There are no reported injuries.

VIDEO: Large tree falls onto house and car

Employees in a Safeway supermarket in East San Jose were able to get everyone out of the building Thursday afternoon before a large section of roof collapsed, according to fire officials.

Firefighters were called to the store at 1771 E. Capitol Expressway shortly before 4 p.m. on an initial report of a water flow alarm, said Fire Capt. Peter Caponio. He estimated that a roughly 70 foot by 70 foot section of roof was affected by the collapse.

Two mobile home parks in Milpitas were flooded and evacuations in both properties are voluntary. The Motorlodge and the Friendly Village Mobile Home Park were flooded with more than two feet of water. Milpitas firefighters are going door to door warning residents about the standing water.

Storm floods South Bay mobile homes, fells tree

East Bay

Power is still out in a San Leandro neighborhood, after a tree fell on a power line, snapping the pole like a twig. The pole fell on the back of a car crushing it just before 5:30 a.m. on Tanager Avenue, near Liberty and Mawbert.

A power pole fell on the back of a car crushing it just before 5:30 a.m. on Tanager Avenue, near Liberty in San Leandro.

"I just finished warming up some food, and as I took my coffee to the living room table, I was sitting down and everything blacked out all of a sudden, just completely blacked out I knew it was coming eventually, not that soon," said Oscar Garcia.

The downed line left hundreds of people without power, including everyone at the Fairmont Palms Apartment Building.

PG&E doesn't expect to have the electricity back on until 8 p.m. Thursday.

Three streets in Fremont have been closed because of storm damage this morning, police said.

The closed roads are the Sullivan Underpass between Niles and Mission boulevards, Palomares Canyon Road and a grade separation pass at Warren Avenue in the city's Warm Springs district, according to police.

Flooding caused lane and highway closures on some highways in the Eastbay. Lanes were blocked on Eastbound CA-92 before I-880 in Hayward and flooding closed CA-13 near I-80 in Berkeley.


Some very brave, or some might say foolhardy surfers took advantage of the storm. In Placer County, the wind on Lake Tahoe made for some impressive waves. Members of the Placer County Sheriff's Office snapped photos near the North Lake Tahoe station of just some incredible waves and the surfers riding them.

PHOTOS: Severe storm creates ideal surfing conditions in Lake Tahoe

State Parks closed due to storm

Nearly a dozen state parks throughout the Bay Area are closed today because of a storm ripping through the region, California State Parks

officials said.

Visitors planning to go to Angel Island, Tomales Bay, Sonoma Coast, Mount Diablo, Annadel, Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, Mount Tamalpais, Olompali State Historic Park, Richardson Grove or Samuel P. Taylor state parks will have to take a rain check since those parks are all closed today, parks officials said.

Updates on park closures can be found at

AP and Bay City News has contributed to this report.