Bay Area mudslides, flooding a concern as El Nino fueled storms continue

A rainy day in the Bay Area made for a messy morning commute. And through much of the region saw only scattered showers through the afternoon and evening, another El Nino fueled storm is headed our way.

This is a bit unnerving for some residents in areas where the ground is already saturated and the potential for mudslides and flooding looms.

In Sonoma County's Monte Rio, a retaining wall is moving and threatening the safety of a neighborhood. The home on Monte Vista Terrace is covered in tarps and beams have collapsed on a pickup truck. Te situation is precarious, which explains the red tag in front.

This isn't about just one house, but also access to a neighborhood of 300 homes.

"If it comes through here there is another house right below us and it could go down in it," said Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxan. "It could take some houses out, yes."

Baxman has more than a little bit of institutional memory when it comes to slides.

In 1998, he was the fire chief in nearby Rio Nido, where a mudslide after a rainstorm destroyed or wrecked 30 different homes. So he will be keeping an eye on this one and hoping that heavy rains do not put more strain on the already saturated ground.

VIDEO: 1998 Rio Nido mudslide victims recall El Nino experience

In the meantime, these El Nino storms are already turning into a busy season for hardware stores, tree trimmers, and more.

Julia Strzesteski at Cole Hardware on Polk Street in San Francisco was busy Tuesday getting her customers ready for El Nino.

Her store is stocked full of tarps, buckets, and some new items to help keep water away, like a product called Quick Dam.

"It's filled with a dry gel," said Strzesteski. When it connects with water, it expands and acts like a sandbag."

PHOTOS: El Nino storms pound the Bay Area

Experts say the number one thing to have close by is a working flashlight for when the power goes off.

A steady rain falling in San Francisco was not good news for Mark Zeino who was on bucket and towel brigade to catch a steady leak inside the house.

"Looking at the leak, it was a little bit devastating," he said. "But we knew we could take care of it."

VIDEO: Watch Accuweather Forecast

Mark Powers from Excelsior Roofing checked out the leak, which was damaging the wall big time.

"As you can see the leak is turning the sheetrock into mush," said Powers.

He can fix the leak, but that will have to wait until this week's storms pass through.

"We're making appointments every single day," he said. "So it's very difficult for us to keep up with demand."

There's a customer waiting list for many roofers as El Nino storms are on the way.

A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for areas in the Valley Fire, Rocky Fire, and Jerusalem Fire burn areas until 10 p.m. Tuesday. A stronger storm -- ranking 3 on our Storm Impact Scale -- will arrive Wednesday morning. If you live or are traveling through those areas, you're advised to keep an eye out for problems due to flooding, rocks or debris flows.

Storm creates problems for drivers across Bay Area

Tuesday's storm caused many problems for drivers across the region.

A car was stuck on a flooded frontage road near the Bay Bridge toll plaza in the morning. The CHP says the car was parked on the road overnight, then the high tide came up, combined with hours of rain, and the vehicle became stuck in the water. The two people were able to get out safely and the car was moved during low tide later that morning.

WATCH VIDEO: Car gets stuck on flooded beach near Bay Bridge toll plaza

In the South Bay, emergency crews were busy all morning long responding to traffic accidents and other incidents. In San Jose, a man got stuck in after his car stalled in flood waters on Bascom Avenue. Firefighters came to the scene to assist the man from the vehicle. A police patrol car gave his vehicle a little push to a nearby parking lot.

In Marin County, rain created some flooding for drivers on northbound Hwy 101 at Lucky Drive. Drivers in the middle lanes fared better than those on the outside, where the water was deeper, but no problems were reported as people slowed down and safely handled the hazard.

"Seems like there's a lot of cars on the road but not too crazy my big thing is I wish everyone would put their headlights on because it makes it easier to see," said Kathy Harshbarger, Corte Madera resident.

At high tide, the Manzanita Park & Ride outside Mill Valley flooded again. Commuters tried to navigate around it, with some just plowing through it.

"We went through and the water sprang up underneath the car. Here comes El Nino right?" said Mark Powers, Marin County resident

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