Rain Pummels Already Saturated Ground in Oakland Hills, Threatening Homes, Bringing Down Trees - NBC Bay Area
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Rain Pummels Already Saturated Ground in Oakland Hills, Threatening Homes, Bringing Down Trees

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A recent round of wet weather caused a host of problems, ranging from mudslides to downed trees, for residents in the Oakland Hills. Rick Boone reports.

    (Published Saturday, April 8, 2017)

    A storm that battered Northern California, endangering homes and leaving thousands in the dark, dumped only a drizzle of rain in the south and was beginning to roll out of the state Saturday.

    But first, the rain softened soil already saturated by months of previous storms, causing a landslide in the Oakland hills. Five families were displaced late Thursday and four homes had been red-tagged by Friday. Some houses were filled with nearly five feet of mud and officials said the hillside is unstable. 

    Four Oakland Hills Homes Red-Tagged After Storm-Fueled MudslideFour Oakland Hills Homes Red-Tagged After Storm-Fueled Mudslide

    In the Oakland Hills, residents of at least five homes were forced to evacuate Thursday night following a landslide that. Of those, four were red-tagged by Friday. Thom Jensen reports.

    (Published Saturday, April 8, 2017)

    Being red-tagged means no one can live in those specific homes, at least for the time being. Also, all work to clean up the fallen hillside and repair the homes has to stop until city officials gives the the go-ahead.

    There were also reports of several downed trees in the area. Part of Thornhill Drive was closed through Saturday after a tree slammed into a house and blocked the road. 

    Neighbor Suzanne Quick said the tree came crashing down around 3:50 a.m., and she said the damage to the home resulted in a total loss. Fortunately for the residents, they were able to walk away.

    "The tree apparently fell on a stud, and that's the only thing that kept from everybody being wiped out," Quick said.

    Earlier in the week, Diane Henderson recalled a wall of mud coming through her home's roof and down the hallway on Thursday. Even a tree made its way into her house.

    "Hillsides are full of trees and brush and plants, and you feel they are holding the hillsides up," she said. 

    But that was not the case on Thursday night.

    Barbara Stone, who is now forbidden from reentering her house, was given 10 minutes to evacuate.

    “I don’t know what to expect next," she said. "Two minutes from now, we may have to run, to get out." 

    Buckets caught rain water, but that's about all the women could do Friday to mitigate the damage as a less-severe system passed through the Bay Area.

    Homeowners are also concerned about who will pay for the repairs.

    "They called me back and said that we're not covered for mudslides," Stone said about her insurance provider. 

    Jonathan Aragon felt like he was living in a war zone.

    “We didn’t want to go to sleep last night," he admitted. "We were afraid the other tree back there was going to fall. We kept shifting through the house and everything.” 

    The East Bay Municipal Utility District and PG&E temporarily cut water and power service to 23 homes in the area. 

    Homeowners on Friday night hoped that a crumbling road above their properties wouldn't slide down and bring with it a lot more mud. They wondered too if a section of a water main that crews have isolated for restoration broke beneath the road, causing a lot of the damage. District officials said the scenario is unlikely, but that the pipe will be preserved as part of an investigation.

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