Creek neared flooding, West Bayshore Road closed after major storm


Fierce wind and rain ushered in by Tuesday night's storm caused troublesome San Francisquito Creek to near flood stage and closed part of West Bayshore Road into Wednesday.

Workers removed another massive amount of debris from Tuesday night's storm, piling it on the overpass roadway. On Wednesday morning the Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services issued an alert that West Bayshore Road is closed between Woodland and Channing avenues on the borders of Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. The road is closed in both directions and there is no estimate of when the lanes will reopen.

On Tuesday night, crews and East Palo Alto officials watched the steadily rising creek for potential flooding. At one point the water rose to 11.9 feet, just under a foot from flood stage of 12.8 feet, according to the City of Palo Alto's creek monitor.

East Palo Alto officials said the water had ceased to rise at that point and they did not expect the creek to flood. But the torrent of water brought with it another great pile of debris -- mainly tree branches and trunks -- from upstream, which were caught by large metal debris catchers to prevent them from going under the overpass where they would lodge against pilings and be impossible to remove, Caltrans workers have previously said.

Storm debris also closed the road on Sunday night and Monday as crews removed tons of logs and branches from the creek with a backhoe and, running out of trucks due to the late hour, piled the debris on the roadway until additional trucks could be brought on Monday.

The storm brought heavy winds that rattled buildings and blew sheets of rain against cars and pedestrians. San Francisquito, Palo Alto's most problematic creek, also rose to 13.6 feet at the Chaucer Street bridge, just 2.4 feet below the top of the bridge's opening. Flood stage for that part of the creek is at 24 feet, according to Palo Alto's creek monitor.


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4 people like this
Posted by MenloJim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm

It appears that the capacity of the bridge under Highway 101 has been reduced by the current construction configuration and/or debris catcher. We were less than a foot from flooding at West Bayshore while we were more than 10 feet from flooding at Pope Chaucer. Appears there is much less capacity at 101 now!

3 people like this
Posted by Bad Data!
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jan 15, 2017 at 10:45 pm

It is now reported that there was a calibration problem with the creek monitor at W. Bayshore Bridge that showed higher water levels by approximately 2 feet compared to actual water level in the creek. This means that the highest water level never exceeded 10 feet. This means the creek flow was about 70% of the hydraulic capacity of the creek at W. Bayshore Bridge.

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