Flooded Highway 37 closed through Novato area

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Flood water across four lanes have shut down Highway 37 in Novato,  the Highway Patrol says it was the proverbial perfect storm.

The normally busy highway is empty tonight, flood waters began engulfing all 4 lanes Tuesday night.
Andre Barclay from the California Highway Patrol says it started with calls about water on the roadway at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

"What we're seeing and what's behind me is flooding that has started on the west bound side, heading toward Marin, and has now crept all the way into the eastbound lanes," said Barclay.
The CHP has shut down Highway 37 between Highway 101 and Atherton Avenue, near the Stone Tree Golf Club in Novato.

Barclay says days of rain saturated the ground, forced the Novato Creek up over it's banks up onto the roadway. Add to that King Tides pushing water inland from the San Pablo Bay, and it's clear this floodwater isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.

"There's no where for this water to go the water that's falling from the sky right now," said Barclay. "The ground is saturated. There's no where for this water to drain to, so it's not going to take much, especially tonight and tomorrow it's not going to take much rainfall to get more standing water on the roadways."

With Highway 37 shutdown, drivers are having to detour to the North to take Atherton Avenue. The 2 land road is packed with cars, which would usually occupy the four lane highway.

Just off Atherton Ave. in Novato A&C Towing has been busy. Marvin Alvarez says the last four days he's seen one call after another. "It's a lot of people getting stuck on the road, cars over flooding," said Alvarez.

The CHP is reporting isolated cases of drivers trying to circumvent the barriers, and trying to drive through the high water. The CHP says that's a dangerous gamble.

"The 3 vehicles to my right over here are great reminders of why you shouldn't try to go through," said Barclay of three vehicles abandoned in the water. "Once you suck that water up it's done. It's not going to move."

At this time, the CHP has no timeline on when it will reopen Highway 37.