The San Rafael Fire Department reports that Sunday, Oct. 24,, was “one busy and wet day.” One of the strongest, top five rainstorms in recorded history hit Northern California, bringing more than 7 inches of rain to San Rafael in 24 hours. In addition to the heavy rainfall, the impacts of the storm were heightened by tides, leaves still on trees which creates a sail effect, and strong winds.
The heavy rains began impacting San Rafael early Sunday and by 8 a.m., storm drains and creeks began flooding the low-lying areas in San Rafael.
“By noon, the tide was coming in, and there was widespread flooding which prompted San Rafael Public Works (DPW), Police (PD), and Fire Departments (FD) to partially activate the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). “
Additional off-duty personnel were called in to assist with the volume of storm-related problems and hazards. City crews handled downed trees, flooded roads and residences, downed power lines, trapped motorists, and other emergency calls for service.
SRPD Dispatch was inundated with emergency 9-1-1 and urgent calls requesting assistance throughout the city. EOC Officials and Dispatchers began sending emergency notifications through Nixle and social media to alert residents and drivers to avoid flooded areas and the downtown corridor.
Fire Department staff used fire engines to rescue motorists from vehicles in flood water up to their doors. Stalled and stranded motorists found themselves waiting hours for roadside assistance. Others abandoned their vehicles, which in some cases could not be reached or towed until floodwaters receded.
Mutual aid requests were answered by the Marin County Sheriff’s Office and Central Marin Police Authority. MCSO Deputies and CMPA Officers assisted SRPD with keeping the public away from severely impacted areas. Calls for service along with road closures lasted into the evening hours.
In total, SRPD Dispatch received 230 emergency 9-1-1 calls and 206 non-emergency calls, with most being received between 10:00 AM through 1:00 PM. SRPD and SRFD responded to 382 incidents for service. The Department of Public Works responded to over 70 incidents.
Great work by all the amazing agencies involved.