Partly cloudy

North Coast braces for rising creeks and rivers

  • "I'm amazed at how fast the (Russian) river came up, " quipped Monte Rio resident Rhys Williams as the muddy water flows under the Monte Rio bridge, Saturday Dec. 1, 2012. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2012

The powerful storm that has already drenched the North Coast sent ashore a third wave Saturday night that was expected to trigger flooding of creeks and rivers throughout the region over the next two days.

Up to 7 inches of rain was predicted for upland areas starting about 7 p.m. through Sunday afternoon, with up to 4.5 inches predicted for the flatlands, according to the National Weather Service.

Emergency officials were scrambling Saturday to prepare for the storm's latest onslaught as residents lined up at hardware stores and elsewhere in search of emergency supplies.

Sonoma County Storm Flooding


High winds were expected to compound the mess, falling trees and power lines and causing road closures and power outages.

Many of region's largest waterways, including the Russian, Petaluma, Napa, and Navarro rivers, were expected to reach flood stage, if not spill their banks.

The Russian River was forecast to meet flood stage in at least two spots: near Hopland in Mendocino County at about noon Sunday and in Guerneville at about 7 a.m. Monday

The projected crest in Hopland could be just over the 21-foot flood stage. Based on past floods, water could cover secondary roads, including stretches of Highway 222 and Highway 175, plus low-lying structures in the Hopland area, according to the National Weather Service.

Hopland Fire Chief John Bartlett said his department was readying boats to aid in rescues of stranded residents. Many of those in the area have been through worse, he said. But he urged those in need of emergency help to stay put and call 911.

"We'll go and get them," he said.

In Guerneville, the river's crest was forecast to be at the 32-foot flood stage. Affected areas could include Lower Mill Street in Guerneville, Old Bohemian Highway in Monte Rio and a number of other riverside roads, resorts and campgrounds.

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