Many across Bay Area welcome rainfall

ByDavid Louie and Sergio Quintanna KGO logo
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Rainfall caused minor rockslides in Santa Cruz Mountains
Tuesday's rainfall caused some small rockslides in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but there were no major mudslides or flooding.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA (KGO) -- The rain Tuesday morning caused car crashes, power outages and flooding in some Bay Area locations and more rain is headed to the area.

In the Santa Cruz Mountains, Tuesday's storm hasn't triggered any mudslides, but there were a few small rock slides and a few power outages. It's the next wave of storms that could put the region at greater risk as the soil becomes more saturated.

The rain Tuesday was so heavy at times. The bursts of rain were followed by lighter showers, and sometimes even breaks, so the Santa Cruz Mountains didn't experience any mudslides or flooding.

PHOTOS: Strong rain and winds hit the Bay Area

Even the San Lorenzo River seemed tame as it passed by the town of Boulder Creek early Tuesday evening. By the time all the storms make their way through the Santa Cruz Mountains this week, the total rainfall should be about six inches. That's nearly double the rain that has fallen in the area since October.

A small rockslide reminded people more serious slides could be coming. Three years ago, a major slide blocked Nelson Road in Scotts Valley, cutting off about 33 families their homes.

"We've all wondered what they were going to do about the hillside that came down once it gets real wet," Scotts Valley resident Robert Ewell said. "It'll want to keep coming. Apparently it stayed up there for many years."

Work on a new road finally started in September, but much of the original slide will remain in place to prevent further movement.

Mountain residents said they are prepared for whatever the rain brings their away. They've got food and an abundance of patience.

The rainfall in San Francisco caused some problems for public transportation. The city's cable car service was suspended all morning because of the wet weather. Muni crews had to clear mud and debris off the tracks. The cable cars started running again around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday.

VIDEO: Rainstorm knocks out San Francisco cable car service

The Powell-Mason line remained closed a bit longer because a tree fell across the line at Powell and Bush streets. Muni says it takes extra care because the cable cars' brake systems are around 100 years old.

In the East Bay, rain caused plenty of puddles and prompted people to don rain slickers and pop up umbrellas, but many people celebrated the steady rain showers. And they're hoping for more.

The steady rains made for a slow and soggy commute. East Bay traffic heading into San Francisco was backed up for most of the day, causing significant delays.

VIDEO: Rainfall clogs East Bay roadways with traffic

In Berkeley, some storm drains were overwhelmed by the combination of leaves and rain, causing them to back up.

Power did go out for an hour and a half in the area around Fourth Street and Delaware in Berkeley.

The staff over at Bette's Diner jumped into action to make sure people who needed to warm up from the rain had a someplace to go.

"We have all these lamps and we have all these power supplies, and so we stay open and we end up feeding the street," Bette Kroening, owner of Bette's Diner said.

Even with no power, cooks kept humming along, frying up home-style potatoes and sending out flapjacks.

Breezes kicked up a little around mid-day, but like the rain, it was nothing too serious.

"It's nice, it's not too much, it's not torrential, it's not causing floods, it's just great," said Berkeley resident Paula Greer. "I'm sure there will be trees down, but you know."

Alameda County Public Works said there were some branches that snapped off trees, but they had no calls of whole trees coming down and no reports of major damage.

People in the North Bay have been dealing with downed trees and flooded lots all day on Tuesday.

San Rafael homeowner Michael Collins described the tree falling near his home. He said, "Well, it sounded like there was a minor earthquake. A vibration in the house."

VIDEO: North Bay deals with flooding, downed trees

The folks at Treemasters warn that we'll have more of this ahead as the winter wears on.

Reservoirs in Marin County are 94 percent of average storage, for now. However, they are still only at 65 percent capacity.

Caltrain also experienced some delays Tuesday morning after the morning downpour caused the tunnel to flood under the Palo Alto station.

VIDEO: Current storm won't impact California drought