SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A potent winter storm, the latest in a seemingly endless series of weather fronts, roared into Northern California early Monday, heightening fears of renewed flooding, mudslides and toppling trees.
According to the National Weather Service, more than two inches of rain had already fallen between midnight and 6 a.m. in Boulder Creek and nearly two inches in Kentfield.
By the time the storm was predicted to move on Tuesday, forecasters predicted 1.5 to 4 inches could fall at the lower elevations and 8-10 inches in the coastal hills. The storm was also packing high winds.
Already Monday morning a massive tree had toppled at Gough and Market in San Francisco. Flood and wind warnings had been issued for the entire Bay Area.
Meanwhile, flooding and a crash had closed down all lanes of Highway 101 in Redwood City early in Monday’s morning commute and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Marin also was closed by a mudslide. After being closed for more than an hour, both busy roadways were reopened.
In Napa, American Canyon Road between Flosden and Highway 29 was flooded.
The storm was causing havoc at San Francisco International Airport where hundreds of flights were either cancelled or delayed.
Residents in the Santa Cruz Mountains were fearful the latest deluge would trigger more landslides and wash out even more roadways.
At the Anderson Reservoir near Morgan Hill, thousands of gallons of water continued to gush out of the emergency release pipe. The reservoir was over 100 percent capacity — well beyond the levels deemed to be seismically safe.
The reservoir release has triggered a flood warning for Coyote Creek.
Massive waves forced Pacifica officials to close down access to the Pacifica Pier. Waves of up to 10 feet were pounding the shoreline.
Near Tracy, residents armed with flashlights patrolled the local levees overnight, searching for any signs of weakness or water overflowing the earthen barriers.
“We are looking for breaks in the levees, boils in the side of the levees and wet spots,” said Joe Hadley as he patrolled.
The San Joaquin River at a measuring station near Vernalis remained at “danger stage,” meaning it keeps approaching the top of levees, said Tim Daly, a spokesman with San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services.
“When the water gets that high and more water is coming, there is just too much pressure and levees can break. They can be topped,” Daly said.
Daly says residents of low-lying areas have been told to be ready to evacuate, especially those in San Joaquin River Club, a riverside, private neighborhood of 800 homes 10 miles south of Tracy.
Residents of the community have been constantly patrolling the levees for signs of danger and holding meetings to discuss evacuation routes and preparedness, said Paula Martin, who is helping coordinate evacuation plans.
“We have a levee response team, a sand bagging team, teams to check on what walkers checking on the levees find,” Martin said. “Our community is pulling together like real champs.”
Throughout the Central Valley, thousands of acres of farmland were inundated with flood waters.
The California Department of Water Resources said Sunday the amount of water flowing down the Oroville Dam spillway was increased from 55,000 cubic feet a second (cfs) to 60,000 cfs in anticipation of the storm.
Officials assured local residents that the Dam and its spillways can handle the runoff from Monday’s storm. Still many harbored fears they may have to flee their homes as they had to eight days ago.