Car wrecks pile up with next round of Bay Area storms

Yet another atmospheric river system moving across the Bay Area caused a messy start Thursday on the roadway. 

The California Highway Patrol was called out to respond to numerous crashes in the wet weather.

One such crash involved a big rig on Interstate Highway 80 in Berkeley at Gilman Street, which temporarily shut down traffic in both directions. 

Further south in San Jose, fire crews raced to a rollover near Blossom Hill Road where a car flipped over. One person was taken to the hospital just before Wednesday at midnight. This road is known for flooding when it rains. 

And in Hollister, a person off Highway 152 east of Casa de Fruta died around 1:15 a.m. Thursday when their car crashed and was engulfed in flames. 

"We really ask people first and foremost to slow down," San Jose Fire Battalion Chief Brad Cloutier said. "Try and obey the speed limit, wear your seat belt; please don’t drink and drive. Please be cautious out there. Just slow down. Get to where you’re going in one piece."

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Drivers should slow down and turn on their lights in the rain – which the National Weather Service said will pound down through New Year's Eve.

CHP is preparing to respond to an increase in crashes over the next few days. 

"…we’re entering our maximum enforcement period, so we are going to have a lot more officers out there already. The goal of that maximum enforcement period is obviously focused on removing impaired drivers, but with rain coming down, it’s now kind of that dual duty of that focus but also responding to crashes and helping disabled motorists on the side of the road," said officer Andrew Barclay.

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KTVU meteorologist Roberta Gonzales said the rain will be light on Thursday, moderate on Friday and then become heavy Friday night. The precipitation will begin to taper off on Saturday afternoon and then clear up by about 5 p.m.

There could be as much as six inches of rain falling in areas such as the North Bay over these next three days, Gonzales said. 

"With so much rain in such a short period of time, especially since we’ve already seen some rain, we are going to see more flooding. And not just in our low-lying areas that are near the Bay that we would normally see that flooding, but also more inland in other areas," said Barclay. 

Barclay warned drivers should not try to drive through water if they don't know how deep it is. 

Motorists should also be careful of mudslides, sending wet dirt and debris onto the road.