Residents of the Bay Area are bracing for another storm, or three, as the case may be, even as they continue to clean up flooding, mudslides and fallen trees left from the last one.
Storm preparations on Tuesday closed one of the two northbound lanes of Highway 17, near Vine Hill Road, for a distance of 200 feet as Caltrans crews erected a chain link fence they hope will catch falling rocks and debris.
The temporary fix comes after a massive mudslide last week brought trees and boulders onto the roadway, demolished a TV news van and shut down part of the highway for the better part of two days.
Commuters were happy to see the work being done.
"It’s better than nothing," Los Gatos resident Vijay Rakhra said. "I’d rather see that than nothing there."
Cathy Castillo, a commuter from Redwood City said, "The Santa Cruz Mountains are going to slide. There’s a lot of loose rock. It’ll happen."
In the East Bay, cleanup from last week's storm continued.
One family in Lafayette got an unwelcome visitor when last week’s punishing rain and wind caused a massive tree to come crashing down into their home. And it's still there. Now, with a new storm on the way, homeowner Scott Vaisnor can only hope the rain doesn’t seep in and cause even more damage.
"You can see we have a little intrusion in here," Vaisnor said, pointing at the tree. "We're just trying to get to the meat of it here."
The 20-ton tree that ended up in Vaisnor's living room narrowly missed his father and brother, who were in the kitchen.
Vaisnor says there isn’t time to remove the tree before the next rainfall, due to hit Wednesday. So he and his family are doing their best to temporarily close off any openings caused by the fallen tree.
In Alamo, resident Carl Evans also was cleaning up after a felled tree. In his case, his vintage pickup truck was crushed after high winds Monday toppled a nearby tree.
"It’s a 1986 Ford pickup. F150, a collector’s item," he said. "It’s a beautiful truck really."
Arborist John Traverso, who runs a tree removal service, says his crews are racing against time.
"This is kind of the perfect storm right now because we are coming out of five years of drought, and the soils are saturated already, and we got more storms to come," Traverso said.
Even as the next storm approaches, Traverso and other tree experts advise people to go outside and check out their trees. If they are leaning or the trunk has sunk, they say, try to get it taken care of as soon as possible.
Traverso says to beware of trees with heavy leans.
"Obviously, one reason a tree fails is if their load exceeds their ability to hold themselves up," he said.
In preparation for power outages that affected thousands last week, PG&E has assigned 500 employees to the storm, with more on standby.
"We have crews strategically placed in the North Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains and micro-sites in Half Moon Bay and Scotts Valley," PG&E spokeswoman Mayra Tostado said. "So we’re ready to respond."
The utility says it has made arrangements to bring workers from beyond the Bay Area, if needed.
Rain and high winds are expected to arrive across the Bay Area on Wednesday morning and gain strength into the afternoon and evening.