Wet, cold storm system moves out of the Bay Area

The Bay Area is starting to dry out after Thursday's winter rainstorm. The storm swept into San Francisco, hitting the city hard during the morning commute.

Vehicles traveling along Scott and Fell streets sloshed through standing water, a recurring problem spot according to neighbors. 

"Twenty years ago they redid some work here on the drains and it hasn't worked right since," said Gary Mootz.

Mootz has taken personal responsibility for the grate at the end of his block. 

"I live here. That's my garage, water gets too high it floods," said Mootz. "I clean out the drain, make sure on street sweeping days the drain is cleared."

San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC) crews scrambled throughout the city, vacuuming out catch basins, and clearing grates that were left covered with debris following the first wave of storms.

The utility commission had pre-staged flood barriers in some low lying, flood-prone areas including 17th and Folsom streets. The agency said at this point it appears their preparation paid off. 

"We were very strategic about going to these low-lying neighborhoods," said Will Reisman with SFPUC. "These communities that are prone to flooding and making sure we did pre-sweeps and making sure there wasn't any surface-level debris out there. So, yeah, hopefully, all these efforts are paying off."

Even with the preparations, there was only so much water the city could take. The Great Highway south of Golden Gate Park was closed because of water in the roadway at Lawton Street.

Vulnerable commuters like Brian Lowry, who rides a motorcycle, says when the rain comes the streets get flooded with rideshare vehicles as well as water, with passengers sometimes opening doors in his path without looking. He's asking his fellow commuters to slow down. 

"Just to keep your eyes out. Just keep your eyes out for them, because especially in the rain we are kind of risking our lives," said Lowry.

The SFPUC said it's working on several long term projects to try to mitigate flooding in some of the city's most flood-prone areas.