Many north Palo Alto residents were carefully watching San Francisquito Creek flow with strength through the Pope-Chaucer Street Bridge late Thursday afternoon, as consistent rain continued to fall and was predicted to do so for the next several hours.
Jordan Gruber, who's lived near this section of San Francisquito Creek since its infamous flooding in 1998, said around 3 p.m. he'd been back and forth to the creek throughout the day to monitor the rising water level.
"If it rains another five to six hours, it's going to go over," he predicted.
The city's live creek monitor shows the creek at Chaucer approaching 50 percent capacity (13 feet) with 12.1 feet as of 9 p.m.
San Francisquito Creek capacity at West Bayshore Road hit 50 percent (8 feet) in the late afternoon. Seventy percent capacity for that section of the creek is 11 feet. Matadero Creek at Bayshore is at about one foot below half capacity as of 9 p.m.
Adobe Creek at East Meadow Drive is also approaching 50 percent capacity (6.4 feet), with 5.1 feet recorded.
San Francisquito Creek at Waverley Street remains lower about 8 feet away from 50 percent capacity.
Gruber picked up a total of 20 sandbags in the last few days, hoping to protect his driveway or deck, both of which were flooded in 1998. He said if worst comes to worst, he'll start to put valuables on the second floor of his house.
Mitch Slomiak, who lives on the Menlo Park side of the creek and serves as vice-chair of Menlo Park's Environmental Quality Commission, said what's more concerning for him than potential flooding is the fact that San Francisquito Creek is supposed to be fully running four to six months per year and this year ran for about three to four weeks.
"That's much more anxiety producing than the flood," Slomiak said as he watched the creek.
But if it does flood, at least it will put more "political pressure" on the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority flood-control project for the region, Gruber said.
View the City of Palo Alto's live monitors on the city's creeks (San Francisquito, Matadero and Adobe) here.
Palo Alto police, who recommended that commuters avoid driving between the hours of 2 and 8 p.m. on Thursday, reported at about 4:15 p.m. that one lane of eastbound Embarcadero Road at Churchill Avenue had been closed. At about 4:30 p.m., police reported that one lane of southbound Alma Street at Lytton Avenue had been closed as well.
Police reported at about 8 p.m. that southbound West Bayshore Road has been now shut down from Loma Verde to Fabian Way. Northbound remains open.
The City of Palo Alto is also periodically updating a map of road hazards, closures, flooding and other incidents here.