Sonoma County cleans up after latest storm mess

  • County Crews clean-up a closed Mark West Springs Road due to a mudslide, Sunday Dec. 2, 2012 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2012

The remnants of a ferocious storm blew away Sunday morning, leaving behind countless downed trees, closed roads and thousands on the North Coast without power.

The tight series of storms that walloped the region since Wednesday brought more than a foot of rain to some areas before giving way to blue skies. In Sonoma County, the storm cut power for about 20,000 PG&E customers.

But the projected rainfall, while heavy, didn't add enough to cause local rivers to flood. And a storm expected Tuesday wasn't projected to bring even an inch.

Sonoma County Storm Flooding


"This is just another day in the winter," said Ernie Saxe, 32, standing at the edge of the Russian River, which rose beyond the yellow-gated entrance to Johnson's Beach in Guerneville.

Saxe, a handyman, had brought his 6-year-old son Cartman to the river's edge because the child didn't believe his favorite summertime spot had disappeared under the water.

And although rain totals met some forecasts, "nothing even looks like it's going to get to low flood stage," said Jim Leddy at Sonoma County's Fire and Emergency Services Department. "It's looking better and better."

County emergency officials said the Russian River was expected to peak in Guerneville at 27 feet, well below flood stage. Officials previously predicted the river could reach 35 feet.

In Healdsburg, the river was due to reach 15 feet, also well below trouble levels.

Concerns of flooding also didn't materialize in Mendocino County, where the river measured 18.79 feet in Hopland late Sunday.

"We haven't had any major flooding. The storm didn't pan out like they thought it was going to," Hopland Fire Chief John Bartlett said.

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