Palo Alto, East Palo Alto ride out storm: only minor damage

Roads, parking lots flood but local creeks contain the rainwater and runoff

With no major damage, power outages or creek flooding, Palo Alto and East Palo Alto for the most part dodged a bullet with Thursday's storm.

Some major Palo Alto roads were closed due to flooding Thursday, including the Oregon Expressway underpass for much of the morning, but all were reopened as of Friday morning. Southbound and northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 101 near Marsh Road in Menlo Park also reopened this morning following overnight flooding, according to the California Highway Patrol.

No roads were closed in East Palo Alto, though signs were put up asking people to avoid streets near San Francisquito Creek – primarily Woodland, University and Pulgas avenues, according to East Palo Alto Community Programs Manager Emily Pharr. Pharr said the city opened its Emergency Operations Center for two hours midday, but shut it down "once the eye of the storm had passed."

Palo Alto received a total of 3.54 inches of rain in the last 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service. Mountain View recorded slightly above with 3.59 inches; Portola Valley recorded at the higher end with 5.51 inches.

According to the City of Palo Alto, Foothills Park received a total 4.39 inches of rain.

Though many Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park residents were nervously watching San Francisquito Creek throughout the day and into the evening, with some points of the creek in Palo Alto passing or nearing 50 percent capacity, water levels dropped back down by Friday morning. City emergency personnel were also monitoring the creek throughout the night, according to Palo Alto police.

As of 7 a.m., the most concerning section of the creek last night at West Bayshore Road, which passed 50 percent capacity in the late afternoon, was recorded at 6.2 feet (down from 8 feet last night), according to the City of Palo Alto's creek monitor.

San Francisquito Creek at Chaucer Street, where many neighbors gathered Thursday to monitor the swiftly moving water, has dropped from 12 feet Thursday night to 6.8 feet Friday morning. Matadero Creek and Adobe Creek levels also dropped to more comfortable levels overnight.

"People were concerned we'd get a repeat of 2012 and it was nothing like 2012," Emily Pharr said Thursday morning. "We had the warning and we took full advantage of that warning to be ready, and a result we're even more ready for the next big storm that will come."

Palo Alto Utilities Department Communication Manager Catherine Elvert said Thursday that there were no major power outages or utilities emergencies, save a tree limb that fell on a power line on Van Auken Circle. Power was out for less than an hour in Thursday morning between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., impacting a small group of 12 customers, Elvert said.

"The entire city communicated extensively and continually throughout the day, providing for timely response to any flooding or other storm-related impacts, maintaining safe and calm conditions in Palo Alto," she added.

Showers are expected in the Bay Area Friday, with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Palo Alto police said that no flooding is anticipated today.

Related articles:

Storm soaks Palo Alto area, causing a mess and minor damage

Palo Altans nervously watch San Francisquito Creek

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1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

Many thanks to PAPD for keeping us abreast of flooded roads, etc. by way of their Facebook page and Twitter. We also got phone calls from them too. Well Done.

You don't have to be on Facebook or Twitter to follow these updates. Just load the relevant pages and then refresh every now and then.

I also got emergency bleeps on my phone which signal the emergency broadcast signal, but since I couldn't read them at the time, they had vanished by the time I got to them.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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