SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - The first Bay Area residential property that may soon fall to the power of this winter’s El Niño has already been seriously compromised by relentless rainfall. It's a deteriorating situation that's likely to become all too common.
A big hillside home on Monte Rio's Monte Vista Terrace has already lost a large part of its lower retaining wall and plenty more rain is on the way.
The only thing seemingly holding up that retaining wall is a pickup truck that the wall is leaning heavily against.
"It looks to us like the whole house is gonna come down. Now, I've talked to the contractor who put the plastic out and he said that, ‘No, the house is pretty stable,’ but from what we can see, it doesn't look like it," says Chief Steve Baxman of the Monte Rio Fire District.
The problem is, should the hillside let go, the house and the hillside will have an almost vertical drop in front of it and down below; other homes.
"There's another terrace and then Moscow Road below that. If it gets down in the redwoods, it could take several more houses," says Chief Baxman.
The county has inspected and red-tagged the home forbidding occupancy and other locations are clearly threatened.
"We see a lot. We were out this morning on a mudslide that took three trees in a mud slide and took part of the road," says the Chief.
For hillside dwellers everywhere, especially those who missed the previous two El Niño's in the early ’80s and late ‘90s, expect to see more of this in many California locations.
"We have 2 or 3 more places that we've earmarked that are starting to slide. In the last couple of years they haven't done much because we haven't got much rain. But, if we get a normal rainfall, we could have a lot more slides" concludes the chief.
Considering that water alone carved the Grand Canyon, make sure the drainage around you home directs water away from it, not beside or under it.