San Francisco

Storm-Related Issues Persist in SF, Santa Cruz Mountains

One Summit Road resident's deck and hot tub break loose and slide down a hill; rockslide shuts down busy street in the city

The rain is great for thirsty plants, parched Earth and dry reservoirs. But it can wreak havoc on saturated hills, causing mudslides, sinkholes and floods.

That's what's happening in several regions throughout the Bay Area, from mountainous areas to inner city neighborhoods.

Even with more sunshine than rain on Thursday, parts of the South Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains continued to face a big muddy mess after Wednesday's heavy rains.

Near Summit Road, a huge tree was ripped right out of the ground, a common sight along the mountain roadway. Homeowners took a hit, too, as the near constant rain began eroding the property right from underneath their feet.

Mark Holt, of Santa Cruz, knew the recent storms were going to hit hard in his neighborhood, but he never expected to see what he saw Thursday.

"While I was up in my room, a little before seven, I heard a big crack, and I looked out, and the hot tub was sliding down," he said, pointing to where his deck slid down the hill almost to the nearby road.

Philipe Hobson, who has lived in the area for 40 years, hopped on his Ford tractor and took it upon himself to help out. "Clearing the culverts and making sure the road is passable," he said.

Nearby, Lexington Reservoir wasn't spilling over like last week, but that's likely to change as two more storms are expected to arrive this weekend.

In San Francisco, crews spent Thursday picking out loose rocks from a hillside above O'Shaughnessy Boulevard. The street was closed Wednesday and remained shut down Thursday due to the threat of another rockslide. Crews with hand tools and equipment were on the hillside Thursday to try to reduce the risk.

Crews on Thursday were picking at loose rocks on a hillside above O’Shaughnessy Boulevard in San Francisco a day after a rockslide shut down the road. The road likely would remain closed until Friday.

"That’s one of the reasons we closed the road because we were concerned about the heavy rains last night and into the future knocking those big pieces out," said Raymond Lui of the Public Works Department.

Geotechnical experts determined there were some major pieces that were loose, and that prompted an emergency declaration by the Public Works director and closure of the road, Lui said.

Meanwhile, drivers such as Tony Cain tried to get around the closure.

"It's very inconvenient when I leave to go home after work," Cain said. "Instead of going down the hill to my house, I have to go all the way around."

Muni's 44 bus line has been detoured, and neighbors say commuters who use the road to get to Interstate 280 might find a backup.

O'Shaughnessy had a previous closure on Jan. 10 because of a rockslide. Officials said they are hoping to have the roadway reopened by Friday afternoon, though morning rains could alter that timeline.

Rain is in the forecast through Tuesday.

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