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Storm-pummeled East Bay neighborhoods pick up the pieces

Storm-pummeled East Bay neighborhoods pick up the pieces
Storm-pummeled East Bay neighborhoods pick up the pieces 03:03

DANVILLE -- Saturday's ferocious rainstorm affected everyone in the Bay Area but a couple of East Bay neighborhoods were hit particularly hard. On Sunday, they began the task of cleaning up the mess.

What a difference a day makes.

After Saturday's daylong deluge in the Bay Area, Sunday dawned bright and sunny with blue skies and dry roads.

But the work was just beginning in one Danville neighborhood. Sycamore Valley Road remained closed Sunday as workers removed a couple of inches of sticky mud and, on Laurel Drive, Jaye Grant was raking debris out of her garden as she remembered what her yard looked like just 24 hours earlier.

"It was completely covered in water. It was like we had a lake, Laurel Lake," she said with a laugh.

The entire street was inundated. The high-water line extended about three feet up one mailbox and a parked car on the street had been submerged up to its steering wheel.

Greg Foley had a photo of his son trying to unclog a storm drain while standing in waist-deep water. He said he's frustrated that there was no effort by the city to clear the drains before the predicted storm.

"I think we're all a little upset," Foley said. "Could have been better."

Much of the area's damage occurred near San Ramon Creek, which became a raging river that Mike Burns said was just too much for the system to handle. He and his wife Lori watched as a part of the creek running through San Ramon Golf Club began to rise.

"We were here at eleven-thirty yesterday and it was just about to crest," he said. "About an hour later, it crested the whole street and just went through."

That sent a river of water running down the street into the Sunny Glen Senior Community. There too, the storm drains were quickly clogged with debris.

"The drains were plugged so the water rose," said Sunny Glen resident Frank Montes. "And people were out there in the middle of the day, during the flood, undoing the drains."

The low spot of the neighborhood was a condominium complex on Craydon Circle and, as the water began rising, resident Sue Curtis realized she was stuck.

"We couldn't get out. There's no way, unless we could swim, you know?" she said.

As first responders went door-to-door, they realized they needed help so they called in an unusual rescue ride. The police department's Bearcat armored vehicle, usually used by the SWAT team, arrived to carry Sue and her neighbors to safety.

"They had told us they were going to go get something like that but I didn't think it would be that big. But it certainly looked safe and sturdy," Curtis said.

Now, the storm has passed and the cleanup has begun but Martin Grimm, who lives near the creek, says it's hard to believe what happened on Saturday.

"You look up today, with bright sunshine, a little breeze -- you would have never known yesterday was yesterday," he said.

With another storm predicted for later this week, there are those living along San Ramon Creek who wonder if yesterday was just the beginning.

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