Trees continue to topple over in Oakland hills during break in storms

Downed trees. Rushing water and super-saturated ground.

The East Bay hills have been hit hard by the recent barrage of storms, and even as the rain let up on Monday morning, trees continued to fall over.

Gina Krashna was startled around 6:30 Monday morning from the sound of a large tree toppling over in front of her house. 

"I heard a boom and we’re checking everywhere around the house and we don’t know where it’s coming from and then finally the neighbor alerted us it was here," she said. "It just kind of scared us all the noise was really hard – really strong."

The tree crashed onto her neighbor’s cars along golf links road in where residents have been dealing with heavy rain, flooding and other damage for more than a week.

"We’re certainly not out of the woods. With the saturated grounds, we still have a high probability of trees falling," said Oakland Fire Chief Reginald Freeman, whose crews have been busy since Wednesday, responding to 1,700 calls for service and more than 250 downed trees. 

Freeman said the city still has some 15,000 sandbags available for residents. He said his department has used sand bags on around 9 of its 25 stations to guard against flooding. 

"We have more rain and wind and wind gusts coming.  And that’s why we ask all of our residents, if you have no business or purpose on the roads, stay off the roads," he said.  

Highway 13 was closed for 5 ½ hours early Monday after a 70-foot tall Monterey Pine tree toppled over in lanes near Moraga Avenue. The tree was cleared by 9:30 a.m.

Up the hill along Grass Valley Road, a large eucalyptus tree fell over during the recent storms. No one was hit or injured. 

"It’s the first time a tree has fell in this area in about 10 years. Usually I get a couple branches here and there but his is the first tree," said Junior Joseph, who’s lived in the neighborhood since 1988. 

He’s a general contractor who’s been busy chasing calls from people who’ve had their homes flooded.

"I’m going out to help who I can. I get to be a hero in this storm and try my best to help who I can," he said. 

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky