Waterlogged Marin Residents Recovering As Flood Waters Recede

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — Marin County residents were drying out Friday after torrid rains sent local creeks and steams flowing over their banks and into homes in several neighborhoods.

The National Weather Services said the rains peaked at three-tenths of an inch per hour in midday Thursday but eased off to one-tenth by the late afternoon. Winds were also an issue, gusts as high as 30 mph were reported at several Marin locations.

According to the weather service, Kentfield got 5.63 inches of rain while Mill Valley had 3.27 inches, Fairfax 3.23 inches and 4.22 inches fell in San Rafael.

The deluge triggered the activation of Marin County’s Emergency Operations Center on Thursday afternoon to monitor the storm that caused some surface street flooding, road closures and power outages in areas around the county. No injuries were reported related to the storm and the operations center was finally closed at 7 p.m.

But that was not before flood warning sirens were sounded in the towns of Ross, San Anselmo and Fairfax, and the business district of downtown San Anselmo was evacuated as a precaution.

More than 12 hours after a tree came crashing down on top of a house on Magnolia Avenue in San Anselmo, crews were still removing it piece by piece.

“Whenever one of the tall ones fall down, it’s always this huge sense of ‘ohh man’, because they’re irreplaceable,” said San Anselmo resident Michael John Glasner.

Neighbors told KPIX 5 they heard the commotion when it fell and weren’t all that surprised, given where they live in the middle of giant trees.

Homes lost power because of the tree fall, making for a chilly night.

“It’s much colder in my unit right now than it is out here. That’s why I’m out here, to get relief from the cold,” Glasner said.

On the flooding front, the San Anselmo Creek is something Town Manager Debbie Stutsman is concerned about every time a major storm rolls through and even after it passes.

“There’s still runoff coming through the streets and down the hills that will continue to make the creek rise even after it stops raining,” said Stutsman.

The creek gauge reached 12 feet, just a foot under flooding level. And localized flooding meant businesses had the sand bags and flood gates out. Some even had to close.

“One of the things that made this a more difficult storm is the fact that most of the leaves were still on trees,” said Stutsman. “This was the first significant storm, so the leaves come down and they block storm drains.”

County officials said that in the San Geronimo Valley, 22 homes flooded in Woodacre and Forest Knolls. Papermill Creek overflowed in Forest Knolls, flooding homes on Morales, Montezuma and Castro streets.

Meanwhile, water from road runoff flowed into homes in Woodacre. Residents in the area self-evacuated except for one woman who needed assistance.

Gusting winds and wet soil helped topple a tree on a portion of Lucas Valley Road one mile west of Big Rock. The tree took down power lines and Pacific Gas & Electric Company expected the road to be closed until some time Friday.

In Novato, several minor levee breaches took place near the Marin County Airport, but the water overflowed into agricultural areas and airport operations were not impacted.

County crews continued to clean up storm debris from roads on Friday. Mud, rocks and tree limbs were strewn on many roads, especially in the San Geronimo Valley and West Marin. Lucas Valley Road reopened just before 6 a.m. Friday.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to several reports of capsized boats on Richardson Bay, according to news reports.

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