SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — More than 24 hours of rainfall from a potent atmospheric river, spun to life by a bomb cyclone off the Northwest coast, left lanes of I-880 under several feet of water early Monday morning, shutting down one of the main traffic arteries in the East Bay.

Lingering showers continued to fall in the Bay Area, adding to the impressive rain totals since the storm rolled onshore Saturday night.

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The storm shattered the single-day record for rainfall for an October day in San Francisco history and left behind a path of damaged homes, flooded neighborhoods across the Bay Area and massive rockslides in the Sierra.

The steady rain overwhelmed the drainage system on Interstate Highway 880 in Fremont along a two-mile stretch spanning from Thornton Ave. to Mowry Ave. forcing Caltrans to shut down traffic in both directions for hours.

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“The main problem that we’re having is that at Thornton, the entire roadway is flooded, so it was flooded southbound and northbound shutting down all of 880,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Dustin Kennerley.

Motorists abandoned their vehicles, wading through waist-high water to walk to safety.

Drone Video of I-880 Flooding in Fremont

By 6 a.m., two northbound lanes were reopened, but the others remained shut down. All lanes were reopened by 8:40 a.m., the CHP said.

Vehicles were also stranded in floodwaters on Millbrae Ave. near the BART station.


In Alameda, Harbor Bay Parkway between Maitland Drive and Doolittle Drive was also closed to traffic due to severe flooding.

Meanwhile, Napa officials were forced to shut down Silverado Trail from Madrone Knoll Way to Meadowood due to storm impacts.

Throughout the Bay Area, thousands of Bay Area residents awoke in darkened homes as thousands of power outages were reported.

In the hard-hit North Bay, where more than 11 inches of rain fell in Kentfield, the San Anselmo Creek reached flood stage around 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Police ordered businesses to shut down and evacuate from the area.

The evacuation order was lifted Sunday evening once the creek receded, but it gave people a big scare.

Dr. Daniel Freeman prepared for the worst in his dental office when flood alarms went off in the afternoon.

“We move all of our vehicles out of the staff parking lot,” he said. “And we bring in equipment in the event we have to lift all of our dental equipment off the floor.”

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Residents suspected the heavy downpour and high tide caused San Anselmo Creek to rise so quickly.

“We came within three feet (of major flooding), which is cause for concern,” Freeman said. “But I think we were lucky and we dodged a bullet.”

Many other creeks in the North Bay saw similar problems. Mark West Creek just outside of Santa Rosa flooded Slusser Road, near River Road.

A woman tried to drive through two feet of water, but the engine died.

“Since there was no road-closed sign, no one waived me down to stop me, I was like ‘oh, I’ll be fine.’ No, not fine,” said driver Cynthia Lutz.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service said 4.02 inches of rain fell in San Francisco. It was by far the wettest October day ever — the old record 2.48 inches in 2009 — and the fourth wettest day ever in the city with records dating back to Gold Rush.

Winds were also a problem in San Francisco where trees toppled and a scaffolding came crashing down. One tree actually prompted the evacuation of a few residences.

The San Francisco Fire Department evacuated several homes along Ninth Avenue in San Francisco over concerns that a teetering 100-foot tree might topple on the houses nearby.

“It’s putting some houses in jeopardy because it could fall on the houses. It’s one of dozens of trees to come down,” said Rachel Gordon With San Francisco Public Works

The plan was to cut down the tree as soon as public works crews could get equipment in place.

Strong winds also knocked over a scaffolding in the SoMa District. The metal scaffolding came crashing down at a building near Natoma and 9th St. Some minor damage was done to the building, but no one was injured.

The howling gale forces winds also whistled through the railing grates of the Golden Gate Bridge, creating an eerie soundtrack for the storm as it ripped through the Bay Area.

The humming noise can be heard for miles and has been a source of annoyance for San Francisco residents ever since a handrail retrofit, designed to make the span more aerodynamic on gusty days, was put into place last year.

The slants are much narrower than the old handrails and vibrate in a strong wind.

“I couldn’t really describe the sound,” said Brianne Howell of San Francisco when she first heard the noise last year. “I think I described it as wind chimes at first and, then, like when you blow into a beer bottle. But then, like multiple beer bottles, because it’s different tones.”

In the Sierra, massive rockslides crashed onto Highway 50 at Echo Summit and on Highway 70 in Plumas County.


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