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California Storms: Runoff Continues Deadly Flood Threat; Monterey Peninsula could become an island

SAN FRANCISCO — While skies were clear Thursday morning, runoff from 18 days of rain continued to flow into local creeks and rivers, prompting flood warnings for Sonoma County and the Salinas River.

At the same time, crews worked feverishly to repair the damage left by the historic deluge as two more powerful weather fronts slammed into the Bay Area Friday and weekend.

The National Weather Service predicted a wave of runoff for the Salinas River near Spreckels Blvd. before Thursday afternoon. At 4 a.m., the river stood at 20.8 feet and is expected to rise above flood stage at 7.4 feet Thursday night.

The river crest will be similar to a previous historic 24.5 foot crest in February 1998.

“At 24 feet, the lowest farmlands along the lower reaches of the Salinas River will receive significant flooding,” the weather service warned. “River Road will have moderate flooding. Spreckels Boulevard will begin to flood.”

Monterey County Sheriff Tina Nieto warned that flooding could turn the peninsula — which includes the cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Carmel — into an island.

“Unfortunately, the ground is really saturated and everyone knows that and the water has nowhere to go except the rivers and our waterways,” Nieto told reporters at a news conference.

In Sonoma County, where the rains have flooded vineyards and shot up creeks and rivers.

“At 4.47 am there is already flooding”, the weather service warned. “Some locations that will experience flooding are Santa Rosa, Forestville and Graton.”

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Tragically how dangerous and deadly even minor floods can be in a flooded vineyard in Forestville. A Ukiah woman was found dead in a submerged vehicle.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said a person called 9-1-1 around 10 a.m. Tuesday about a car stuck in floodwaters on the 6000 block of Trenton-Healdsburg Road near River Road.

The caller reported that there was water in the car, after which the call was disconnected. Dispatchers tried calling back several times, but got no response.

Water rescue teams returned to the site around 6 a.m. Wednesday and found a car submerged in about 8 to 10 feet of water about 330 feet from the road.

In San Luis Obispo County, the search for Kyle Doan continued, a 5-year-old boy swept away by flooding in the San Marcos Creek. He was in the family’s SUV when it was swept away by floodwaters.

Lindsy Doan didn’t think the water flowing over the creek crossing on San Marcos Road was deeper than usual when she tried to navigate it in her SUV, but the creek was much higher and flowed more strongly than she expected.

Doan cursed as she lost control of the wheel and the 4,300-pound Chevy Traverse was carried off the road and smashed into a large sycamore tree.

“Mom, it’s okay,” her son, Kyle, reassured her from the backseat. “Just be calm.”

They were the last words the little boy said to his mother before his fingers slipped from hers and he was swept away.

Elsewhere on Thursday, repair crews were busy clearing damage and debris from the storms.

On the San Francisco Peninsula, a large sinkhole formed early Thursday morning on State Highway 92 in San Mateo County, just west of the intersection of Upper State Highway 35.

Highway 92 was closed in both directions from Upper Highway 35 to Pilarcitos Creek Road.

Storm damage too cutting off a neighborhood in Castro Valley for days after part of a roadway collapsed into a swollen creek and repairs won’t happen any time soon.

Record amounts of rain have caused severe road damage in some 20 locations in Alameda County. One of the most significant areas is A Street in Castro Valley, where part of the road collapsed into the San Lorenzo Creek when a retaining wall gave way during heavy rains over New Year’s weekend.

It effectively closed off a major thoroughfare from Hayward to Castro Valley.

“You can see that the whole street has sort of fallen apart,” said resident Saurabh Kumar.

Kumar and his family live across the creek from A Street in Castro Valley. They saw the San Lorenzo Creek flood on New Year’s Eve as mud poured through the backyard, then they heard a terrifying sound.

“We could hear the actual bridge falling down one by one, and when we came out, we saw that hole,” Kumar said.



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