Bay Area prepares for big midweek storm

ByDavid Louie and Wayne Freedman KGO logo
Monday, December 1, 2014
Santa Cruz Mountains excited to see inches of rain
After years of drought, residents in the Santa Cruz Mountains are excited to hear there will be heavy rain falling in the next storm.

BOULDER CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Get ready to see a lot more rain the next few days. The heavy rain has yet to fall and already there are big problems such as trees falling, power lines coming down and roads being blocked off.

Our biggest storms of the season, so far, are on the way and people are rushing to prepare. The good news for drought parched California reservoir levels should rise significantly.

There is more joy than dread about the next wave of storms. Nearly everyone in Boulder Creek says they're excited about a storm that could help the drinking water supply and they say if there are problems, they're prepared. Five inches or so could fall in the next storm.

The shelves at Scarborough Lumber and Hardware are filled with tarps, ponchos, and batteries as mountain residents prepare for the heavy rain and the power outages that accompany storms.

"The past couple of years have been so light that a lot of people have no idea what they're in for when it comes to a big storm like this, and we're all holding our fingers crossed like that and hoping that it does come," Morgan Scarborough from Scarborough Lumber & Hardware said.

Boulder Creek resident Eric Breger already has some clean-up to do after the weekend rain. He said, "I'm basically clearing the tree from my driveway and any dead trees or anything that I'm surrounded by that I'm afraid might fall. I guess we're expecting a lot of rain? We're hoping for the best. We need the rain, that's for sure."

Valley Churches United Missions already has distributed 100 sandbags over the weekend.

Linda Lovelace from Valley Churches Mission said, "We're waiting for a delivery of new sand, and we have lots of bags in our little shed, so we're ready, and I think probably people have had a couple of years maybe even to prepare for the weather."

Boulder Creek residents have been on mandatory water restrictions since May. The water district taps the San Lorenzo River and wells. So the storms ahead will help.

"It brings the stream flows up that will allow us to get off our wells to let the aquifers recharge. It allows provides for aquifer recharge, so it does a lot," Rick Rogers from the San Lorenzo Valley Water District said.

Runoff from the Santa Cruz Mountains helps to fill Lexington Reservoir, part of the Valley Water District. Over the next seven days, its hydrologist is anticipating the level to rise two feet from runoff from the storms. The level rose six inches just from the weekend rain.

Of course, there are always concerns about rain-related accidents, especially along Highway 17. And the potential of mudslides, but these are mountain people, and they're used to heavy rain.

Kara Ferguson of Boulder Creek said, "I'm more excited than concerned to be honest. I'm welcoming the rain. I was hoping we don't have too many problems."

VIDEO: North Bay prepares for possible flooding

In Mill Valley, many people are very concerned about the possibility of flooding during the incoming rainstorm. Road signs are telling people to "get prepared and be safe."

Miller Avenue has flooded a number of times before, including last February and in 1945.

Mill Valley's Miller Avenue flooded in 1945.

The Mill Valley Fire Department has issued an alert to residents in low-lying areas to get ready. They say those people need to keep an eye on the weather and if it's been raining hard for more than an hour or two, they might want to get their car to higher ground.

Tree falls in Atherton

A huge tree fell and took power lines with it in Atherton Monday afternoon.

That large oak also damaged at least one car along Palmer Lane, around 12:30 p.m. Nobody was hurt. Atherton's public works department believes root fungus and wet soil weakened the tree, and that caused it to fall. PG&E hopes to restore power to 71 homes by Monday evening.

Tree branch snaps off in San Francisco

Crews are cleaning up lots of broken or downed tree limbs across San Francisco too. There was a tree that fell near Oak and Broderick streets. A huge branch completely snapped off.

VIDEO: Crews work to prepare for storm to hit East Bay

The biggest storms of our rainy season so far are heading into the Bay Area early this week. Unlike the smaller ones we've had, we're expecting much heavier rain and some strong winds over the next couple of days. ABC7 News takes a look at how some people in the East Bay are preparing for the storms.

Residents might want to clear those gutters around their home. However, if you called gutter repair specialist Stuart Sugden on Monday, it was a little late.

"Well we have a lot of calls today and cannot fill all the requests, unfortunately," Sugden said.

He's a very polite, British transplant who is so civilized about digging in and pulling out gunk, among other items.

In Walnut Creek, PG&E hired crews to cut potentially offensive trees away from power lines. The visit and operation surprised resident Ali Gonilia and it was his tree.

"As long as I don't get a bill, it's fine by me," he said.

PG&E says they do this every day and that news people like us come along come knocking before storms.