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Bay Area storm: Overnight downpours cause damage throughout region as forecasts clear for remainder of the week

SFO surpassed its 12-month average rain total in just four months

Ryan Orosco, of Brentwood, carries his son Johnny, 7, on his back while his wife Amanda Orosco waits at the front porch to be rescued from their flooded home in Brentwood, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 15, 2023. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Ryan Orosco, of Brentwood, carries his son Johnny, 7, on his back while his wife Amanda Orosco waits at the front porch to be rescued from their flooded home in Brentwood, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 15, 2023. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

The Bay Area was doused with yet another hefty overnight storm late Sunday into Monday, but it appears that the downed trees and power outage could have been a parting gift from the historic downpours as mostly bright skies crowd forecasts for the foreseeable future.

National Weather Service 12-hour precipitation totals from 8 p.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Monday morning showed healthy amounts of rainfall throughout the region, with most parts of the Bay Area exceeding one inch of rain. Totals include 1.18 inches in San Jose, 1.17 in San Francisco, 1.24 in Walnut Creek and 1.38 in Oakland.

With saturated soils making it easier for trees to fall and clogged drains making way for flooding, there was no shortage of damage from the storms.

The overnight deluge inundated several properties in East Contra Costa County.

The hardest rain appeared to fall in the pre-dawn hours of Monday morning – causing 3-foot-deep flood waters to surround the house of Ryan Orosco, 35, along Bixler Road near Brentwood. His house is raised, meaning that none of the water managed to get inside.

Shortly after daybreak, he carried his wife and son out of their house and to dry land through bone-chilling cold water.

“If you were to stand on our porch, it looks like a river running through it,” Orosco said.

Next door, his parents’ property fared worse. About three or four inches of water seeped inside, forcing them to leave their house at about 5 a.m. and spend the rest of their night in their car across the street on dry land.

“It’s really stressful to deal with it,” Orosco said. “It just baffles me how much water came down.”

“I’m looking forward to it being over,” he added, of the recent string of atmospheric rivers to hit the state. “I’m looking forward to going out and enjoying the sunshine when it comes out.”

Down the street, other properties were affected as well.

While Mark Beard’s house escaped the deluge unscathed, his nearby workshop and his in-law unit – where his 19-year-old son lives – became flooded with six inches to a foot of water Monday morning.

Beard said it was the third time since late December that his property has flooded, forcing his son to live in a camper trailer. He blamed much of the issue on a nearby irrigation ditch overflowing onto his property.

“The ditches on our street are not big enough to contain this water,” Beard said. “The pipes that go across the road are not big enough to flow the water coming in.”

On Monday, Beard voiced fatigue at the drumbeat of storms over the last three weeks.

“It’s horrible – this is going to be our third time of cleaning everything out,” said Beard, adding that he’ll need to tear out carpet and walling from the in-law unit. “We’ve already done a bunch of cleanup and now we’re doing it again.”

In Berkeley, a Monday morning mudslide led to a “severe” warning from the police department, forcing evacuations near Middlefield Road.

“The spiral between Wildcat Canyon and Middlefield, Middlefield north of the Crossways, and Wildcat Canyon between Sunset and Park Hills Rd are all closed due to mudslide in the area,”  the alert read. “Several residents have already been evacuated. Other residents in the area should be prepared to evacuate if notified.”

The Palo Alto Police Department issued an advisory at 7:57 a.m. that all lanes of El Camino Real were closed in both directions at the University Avenue underpass due to overnight flooding. There was no estimation for reopening given.

A downed tree on Highway 13 in Oakland caused an early morning shutdown from Broadway Terrace to the junction of Highway 61 in Berkeley, according to CalTrans.

CalTrans says two lanes of Highway 101 were closed Monday at the junction with Highway 84 in Redwood City after massive potholes caused damage to tires during the morning commute hours.

Meanwhile, San Francisco International Airport surpassed its yearly rain average just four months into the water year, according to the NWS. SFO hit 20 inches of rain during overnight, beating out the 19.64 inch yearly average with eight months to spare. The water year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

The remainder of the week, with exception to Wednesday night, looks to be a welcome break from the storms for the Bay Area. Monday could see between one-tenth and one-quarter of an inch of rain in San Jose and less than one-tenth in San Francisco and Oakland.

State climate experts voiced relief at the line of atmospheric rivers appearing to come to an end. A ridge of high pressure is expected to cut off the flow of moisture to the state, meaning that California should expect largely dry weather through the end of January, save for a minor storm rolling through the state on Wednesday.

“We’re finally getting through the parade of storms,” said Mike Anderson, state climatologist.

As the clouds decrease in the evening Monday, temperatures were expected to drop to a low of 37 degrees in San Jose, and the low 40s in the East Bay and Peninsula. Tuesday was predicted to be clear with a high of 55 degrees throughout the region.

Wednesday could see light showers, with totals expected around one-quarter of an inch in Bay Area urban centers.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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