SAN JOSE, Calif. — One of the wettest periods in the Bay Area’s recorded history began winding to a close this week with a lashing of rain that caused hillsides to buckle in the Berkeley and Oakland hills and several highways to close across Northern California.
Yet even as emergency crews scrambled to red-tag houses and clear storm drains, California water and climate officials voiced relief at mostly sunny forecasts for the foreseeable future.
A ridge of high pressure is expected to largely cut off the flow of atmospheric rivers to the state in the coming days, meaning that California should expect largely dry weather through the end of January. The only blemish in that otherwise dry forecast: A far less-severe storm rolling through the state on Wednesday, which should bear a fraction of the moisture as the previous deluges of the last two months.
“We’re finally getting through the parade of storms,” said Mike Anderson, state climatologist with the California Department of Water Resources. “It’s a chance to dry out.”
The latest storm early Monday morning — the ninth atmospheric river to hit California since Christmas — further upped the toll from three weeks of near-unceasing rain storms that have killed at least 20 people across the state and caused at least $1 billion of damage across the state.
Myriad highways across the Bay Area were closed at various times Monday, including Highway 13 in Oakland and Highway 101 in Redwood City. All paved roads in Mt. Diablo State Park were closed due to storm damage. And several portions of Highway 1 along the Central Coast also remained closed.
Before dawn on Monday, emergency crews in Pittsburg had to rescue about a dozen people trapped by flood waters that threatened their homes along Harbor Street.
Near Brentwood, 3-foot-deep flood waters surrounded Ryan Orosco’s mobile home along Bixler Road shortly after daybreak. None of the water managed to make it inside, thanks to the home standing on a raised platform. But next door, 3 to 4 inches of water seeped inside his parents’ home.
“It’s really stressful to deal with it,” said Orosco, 35. “It just baffles me how much water came down.”
“I’m looking forward to it being over,” he added. “I’m looking forward to going out and enjoying the sunshine when it comes out.”