Storm clean up: Sandbags a North Bay winter way of life

Tuesday night’s sprinkles in the North Bay were nothing like the deluge seen on Monday.

People who live and work in the area say they had the chance to clean up and re-assess what they need to do protect their homes and businesses from heavy rain.

Shoveling mud out of a storm drain is messy, but necessary at the Orchard Supply in San Rafael.

The store prides itself in helping people weather storms. They did, however, have storm issues of their own. 

The store manager, Bill Selk, says at 5:30 Tuesday morning, there was a power outage.

The store had to rely on its generator so computers and cash registers could still run.

"There is always a moment of worry when the lights flicker and the thing is supposed to go on automatically and you count one, two, three. It goes on and you're happy," says Selk. Orchard Supply’s power was restored in about an hour.

He's also happy that he has plenty of flashlights and batteries, popular items the manager says the store ran out of last winter. Now it's time to prepare for El Nino.

Cleanup tools like gutter wands and other storm protection items such as foam gutter guards are selling fast, he says.

Orchard Supply shoppers say they're looking ahead preparing for the next storm.

"I have an appointment tomorrow to get new tires and brakes put on my car because this morning I started sliding. It was really scary," said Amie Tomasello of Oakland.

Meanwhile, in the hills overlooking Corte Madera, it was a cold still night. One homeowner checked on the sandbags he set all around the foundation of his home to prevent flooding. He says this is a way of life in the North Bay come every winter.
"Like some people have to mow the lawn, we have to protect the house with the sandbags.  It's part of the price we pay for living up here," said 72-year-old Greg Grange of Corte Madera.

People who spoke with KTVU say they're grateful for the much needed rain, but also glad that it didn't cause major damage.