Rains cause minor flooding; tree falls on bus in San Francisco

By Paul Glader The Associated Press
Thursday January 03, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — Steady rains in the Bay Area caused minor mudslides and flooded roads Wednesday, and the wet weather may have led to a 70-foot tree falling on a bus near the Golden Gate Bridge. 

The bus was traveling north on 19th Avenue past the MacArthur Tunnel in San Francisco when hit by the tree. No one was injured, but the accident blocked afternoon traffic. 

“Apparently, the bus was beat up pretty badly and it’s quite miraculous that no one was injured and everyone’s OK,” said Mary Currie, spokeswoman for the Golden Gate transportation district. 

Several flooded roads in Sonoma County were closed, including Green Valley Road, Todd Road west of Stony Point, Mark West Station Road and Sanford Road near the Russian River, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

“We’ve got other roads that are partially blocked with either small mudslides, trees down and that kind of thing,” said officer Shannon King. “It’s just mostly rainwater overflowing the little creeks and tributaries.” 

The National Weather Service reported at least five inches of rain fell in the mountains of central Sonoma County Tuesday and Wednesday. No additional rain was expected through the end of the week. 

“It is finally going to dry up a bit,” said Steve Anderson, a weather service forecaster in the San Francisco Bay area. 

Businesses along the Russian River, such as Martinelli Vineyards and Winery, said the rain pooling in their vineyard did not pose a threat to business and that the Russian River was not close to flooding. 

In some places along Highway One in southern Sonoma County, roads were washed out Wednesday and traffic was down to one lane. The CHP said Highways 121 and 116 were closed with up to 10 inches of water. 

” We keep having people who are out in the middle of it getting stuck because they think they can get through it,” King said, noting a motorist on Sanford Road was stuck with water up to the doors and pouring into his vehicle. 

“They think they can get through or watch a big four-wheel-drive SUV get through and they try, and end up getting stuck.” 

The weather service on Wednesday issued a snow advisory for Greater Lake Tahoe elevations above 7,000 feet, where 6-12 inches was expected, with higher amounts possible near the Sierra Crest. Up to four inches was expected around Lake Tahoe.