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Flooding, heavy rains snarl Bay Area traffic early on New Year’s Eve

Flooding at Toland and Galvez has stranded a car and stopped several Muni buses in the Bayview. | Jonah Lamb/The Standard

Heavy rains this morning, part of an expected two weeks of wet weather for Northern and Central California, have caused major road closures and flooding throughout the Bay Area, including parts of the city of San Francisco and Highway 101 near San Francisco International Airport in South San Francisco. The roads in San Francisco have gotten so bad, the fire department is asking residents to not drive today.

Two areas of Santa Cruz County have also been put under evacuation orders as of this afternoon, and mudslides have been reported in various parts of San Francisco.  

The California Highway Patrol tweeted this morning that all southbound and northbound lanes of 101 would be closed in South San Francisco, with Caltrans reporting closures between Oyster Point and Interstate 380 due to major flooding. CHP urged travelers to avoid the 101 and use Interstate 280 as an alternate route.

At 1:02 p.m., the highway patrol tweeted that it estimated that 101 would reopen in both directions around 5 p.m. However, as that deadline approached, CHP tweeted the highway that connects San Francisco and SFO would remain closed indefinitely. “The water is not receding due to non-stop rainfall & high tides preventing the water to displace,” the highway patrol tweeted.

The San Francisco Fire Department also reported mudslides in Bernal Heights and Kirkham and 5th Avenue as well as flooding at 14th and Folsom and the 1500 block of Harrison, urging people to avoid these areas. The fire department tweeted that firefighters had rescued a driver from a flooded street in the Marina earlier today.

The National Weather Service issued several flood and wind advisories for the region early in the day on New Year’s Eve, including San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties. 

While flood advisories for the Peninsula and the North Bay expired earlier today, a flood advisory is in effect in Alameda and Contra Costa counties until 2:30 p.m. today. The National Weather Service has also issued an urban and small stream flood advisory until 5 p.m. for San Francisco County. 

The Felton Grove and Paradise Park areas of Santa Cruz County were put under evacuation orders this afternoon, and officials urged residents of those areas to move to higher ground.

And wind advisories remain in effect through the rest of today.

A section of Highway 92 in Half Moon Bay flooded earlier today and multiple roadways in San Mateo were closed Saturday morning due to flooding. San Mateo police urged drivers to avoid the area of 42nd Avenue between El Camino Real and Pacific Boulevard, which is a Caltrain underpass, and the area of Delaware Street between Bermuda Drive and Saratoga Drive. Bermuda Drive is also flooding due to Borel Creek overflowing, according to police.

As of Saturday afternoon, BART was reporting major delays systemwide, while SF Municipal Transportation Agency reported systemwide Muni delays; both transit agencies cited mechanical issues and other weather-related woes. At 1:15 p.m., BART tweeted that three elevators/exits at the north end of the Montgomery Station are closed because of flooding. BART officials are also asking riders to watch their steps on wet platforms and stairways.

According to the National Weather Service, 2.37 inches of rain have fallen within San Francisco, 2.13 inches in Mill Valley and almost 3 inches in Oakland over the last 24 hours. ABC7 meteorologist Lisa Argen expects an additional 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain to fall in the region by the end of today and rainfall to taper off by 5 p.m. tonight for a clearer New Year’s Eve, with dry conditions expected on the first day of the new year. 

Although conditions will be drier tonight, Argen warns people to stay away from flood-prone areas. Some of those difficult flooded spots will still be dangerous despite the rain ending this evening,” Argen said.