Round One in what is expected to be a weeklong bout with rain went to the weather by unanimous vote, with downed trees, flooded roads, power failures and a series of highway crashes.
A stronger storm was forecast to launch Round Two in earnest late Friday, although intermittent showers will continue to soak the North Coast today, National Weather Service meteorologists said.
In Monte Rio, one home sustained significant damage Tuesday night when uprooted trees on Starrett Hill Drive fell across the road and onto two neighboring houses on Moscow Road, fire personnel said.
"I'm lucky I wasn't at home," said retired firefighter Mike Fauss, a Moscow Road resident who returned home late Tuesday to find three 150-foot-tall redwoods had crushed his A-frame house.
"The whole tree just caved the roof in. The tree was in the house," Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said.
Fauss viewed the damage for the first time in daylight Wednesday after a sleepless night at a friend's house.
"I've been to a lot of fires where the people lose everything and they're on the street with nothing," said Fauss, who works in San Francisco. "At least with some time and a lot of work, I can rebound."
No was hurt next door either, though the residents of that house were home when the tree's branches landed on it, Baxman said.
The storm left more than 8,200 homes and businesses without power across the county. Power was restored for all but about 20 Healdsburg customers on Chalk Hill Road who lost power after a vehicle hit a utility pole, PG&amp;E said. Crews expected to restore their power by 2 a.m. today.
An inch of rain fell in the 24 hours ending at 4 p.m. Wednesday in most parts of Sonoma County, with 1.35 inches measured in downtown Santa Rosa and 0.94 inches measured at the D Street bridge in Petaluma.
Higher elevations received similar amounts, including 0.92 inches at about 2,000 feet elevation near Hawkeye Ranch Road in Geyserville and 1.32 inches at 1,000 feet in Venado, west of Healdsburg.
Just under 4 inches of rain have fallen since Monday and another 2 to 4 inches is expected by next Monday, National Weather Service forecasters said.
In Sonoma County, flooding closed Highway 12 at Highway 121 in Sonoma and Freestone Valley Ford Road between Highway 1 and Bodega Highway, the CHP said.
Flooding also affected areas of Mark West Station Road at Starr Road near Windsor and Green Valley Road at Highway 116/Pocket Canyon Road near Forestville.
A landslide closed Old Monte Rio Road between Sunny Drive and Cnopius Road.
"Unsafe speed for conditions," CHP Officer Jon Sloat said, summing up the cause for Wednesday's wrecks.
Sloat cautioned motorists to slow down and steer clear of any flooded areas.
Drivers "always think, 'I can make it,' and then the fire department ends up going out in frog suits and plucking them off the road," he said.
More rain is expected by mid-morning today, with heavy rain Friday night.
On Saturday, it is expected to be colder, with highs in the 50s and lows in the mid-30s, with showers and the threat of thunderstorms. Showers are also expected on Sunday, said Steve Anderson with the National Weather Service.