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Where to get sandbags filled

Cities typically offer free sandbag filling stations at their corporation yards. In some cities, like Santa Rosa, residents are required to provide proof of residency.

Santa Rosa's City Municipal Services Center at 55 Stony Point Road is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For information about locations of sandbag stations, call the cities below:

City of Sebastopol: 707-829-4400

City of Healdsburg: 707-431-3346

City of Sonoma: 707-938-3332

City of Petaluma: 707-776-4303

City of Rohnert Park: 707-588-3300

Other locations


Shamrock Building Materials, 8150 Gravenstein Highway

Stony Point Rock Quarry, 7171 Stony Point Road


Forestville Fire Department, 6554 Mirabel Road


Geyserville Fire District, 20975 Geyserville Ave.


Russian River Fire Protection, 14100 Armstrong Woods Road


Garrett Hardware, 1340 Healdsburg Ave.

Monte Rio

Monte Rio Fire Department, 9870 Main Street


Friedman Brothers, 429 N. McDowell Blvd.

Sequoia Landscape Materias, 1330 King Street

Rohnert Park

Home Depot, 4825 Redwood Drive

Santa Rosa

Friedman Brothers, 4055 Santa Rosa Ave.

Home Depot, 100 Bicentennial Way

Grab N' Grow, 2759 Llano Road


Youth Annex, 425 Morris Street


Friedman Brothers, 1360 Broadway Ave.

Sonoma Materials, 21040 Broadway Ave.

Soils Plus, 4343 Stage Gulch Road


Garrett Hardware, 10540 Old Redwood Highway

Home Depot, 16280 Hembree Lane

10:30 p.m. The Russian River is now forecast to crest at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 39.8 feet in Guerneville. That’s up from an earlier estimate that it would top out at just over 38 feet, six feet above flood stage. Officials consider anything over 40 feet to a major flood.

9:45 p.m.

Highway 101 at the Marin-Sonoma county line is closed in both directions because of flooding.

7:45 p.m.

As the strongest band of rain moved through Sonoma County and across the North Coast, emergency personnel and electricity crews were fielding a steady stream of calls for downed trees and power lines, stranded residents and localized flooding.

At least 50 roads throughout Sonoma County were closed by floodwaters or downed trees, several of which came down Tuesday evening on passing motorists. There were no reports of serious injuries.


The latest band of rainfall was set to push the Russian River six feet past flood stage, to more than 38 feet in Guerneville by Wednesday evening. Thousands of residents remain under an evacuation advisory in the region.

Sonoma County school officials announced a list of campuses that will remain closed Wednesday due to the storm. To see the list, click here.

2:20 p.m.

Storm damage early Tuesday afternoon included two outages that knocked out power to 7,000 customers throughout Sebastopol and west of Occidental.

A large mudslide on Highway 128 near Chalk Hill Road also closed the rural highway for up to three days, reported the Highway Patrol.

Heavy rains fell for hours Tuesday morning into the afternoon then tapered off somewhat. The lull was a break before the storm’s main front was due to reach the North Bay later in the afternoon, bringing a few more inches of rain and gusting winds.

Earlier Tuesday outages in the county effected about 700 customers but toppling trees and breaking limbs upped the totals. Additionally, one outage knocked 3,000 customers out in Guerneville, including downtown, but that was quickly fixed, said PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras.

The mudslide on Highway 128 was reported at 12:25 p.m. Initial reports was that it was large and that the slide also had pulled down a big tree. It was considered unstable and too dangerous to work on and CHP officials warned drivers to avoid the area. They said the roadway could be closed for 2-3 days for repairs. A detour was set up at Chalk Hill Road east of Healdsburg.

Other storm-related reports Tuesday afternoon included several other roadways blocked or partially blocked by mudslides and falling trees.

One woman pulled up at the Monte Rio fire station early Tuesday afternoon to report a slide on nearby Moscow Road. As she drove away she called out “I think they got this one wrong. This is a lot more rain than people were expecting.”

‑ Randi Rossmann and Derek Moore

1:30 p.m.

Neighbors and residents Tuesday anxiously monitored a large mudslide in the hills above the Russian River west of Guerneville even as pouring rain added to the possibility of further trouble.

County officials early Tuesday assessed the situation, determining the seven threatened homes in the upscale river community were not damaged but an assessment of the hillside’s stability continues. The homes have been red‑tagged and residents ordered out due to concern for their safety. It’s unclear when or even if they will be allowed to return.

On Monday the mountainside started to give way, bringing down a massive amount of mud, water and large trees, coursing through a gully that opened up between homes in this upscale river community. It’s a neighborhood of a mix of retirees, weekend vacationers and also renters who live here with families.

The mudslide extends for as far as the eye can see up the mountain through a forest of majestic redwoods. It has spilled down across Santa Rosa Avenue and further down across Old Monte Rio Road, covering both with several feet of mud making both of the roads impassable.

“There’s mud coming down, trees falling, it’s so steep and you don’t want to get too close,” said Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum, who surveyed the slide. “It is pretty dangerous to get near it.”

Concerns Tuesday in the area included the possibility of falling trees.

Monday afternoon a 100-foot tree toppled near the mudslide site. “I thought it was a car crash,” said Garen Kessel. Kessel and his wife and 4-month-old baby rent a home near the mudslide, which was not red-tagged. Tuesday he said the couple is anxious.

“We’re ready to go if we need to, it’s a little scary,” Kessel said.

Elsewhere in Sonoma County, mudslides were impacting roadways. Mud closed the northbound lane of Highway 128 north of the River Rock casino, CHP Officer Jon Sloat said. Another slide partially blocked Sweetwater Springs Road near Westside Road.

A tree fell, toppling power lines and blocking a portion of Old Redwood Highway near Petaluma Hill Road.

- Derek Moore and Julie Johnson

Russian River at Guerneville

11:35 a.m.

It was relatively quiet on the storm front in Lake and Mendocino counties Tuesday morning, according to police and fire officials, but they were bracing for problems later in the day, when wind and rain is expected to become more fierce.

Some roads in Mendocino County remained closed, or were closed again, including low spots on Highway 175 in Hopland; 128 near Highway 1; and Highway 1 near Point Arena.

In Lake County, multiple roads remained closed because of flooding and mudslides. Scotts Valley Road was closed between Highway 20 and Hendricks Road; Bell Hill Road was closed at Adobe Creek; Hill Road was closed between Sutter Lakeside Hospital and Lakeshore Boulevard; and Elk Mountain Road was closed 29 miles north of Upper Lake, according to the Lake County Public Works Department. The county roads department recommends using four-wheel-drive vehicles on Elk Mountain Road between Upper Lake and Lake Pillsbury.

Some 1,100 people remained without electricity in Mendocino County Tuesday morning, according to PG&E. Only eight were reported in Lake County. Most of the outages were caused by fallen trees.

Most schools in Mendocino County were closed Tuesday, largely in anticipation of weather-related transportation problems, according to the Mendocino County Office of Education. Leggett schools were closed because of a power outage caused by a tree falling onto a power line on Drive Thru Tree Road, according to PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras. It left 377 customers in Leggett, Cummings and Westport without power, she said.

- Glenda Anderson

10 a.m.

Heavy rains due later Tuesday afternoon, coupled with a higher-than-expected flow at the Russian River has officials now predicting the river will reach a major flood stage Wednesday evening of more than 38 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavier rainfall and runoff helped bump the prediction to 38 feet, 4 inches in Guerneville, which is several inches higher than the previous prediction, said Brian Garcia, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Part of the new calculation came from measurements Monday afternoon of river flow by officials, taken at the Hacienda bridge near Forestville.

The ground is saturated and “we’re just going to add more water on top of that,” Garcia said during a regional weather update Tuesday. Garcia painted a picture of continued flooding, mudslides and the typical impacts that go along with such severe weather.

Meanwhile, satellite pictures show a steady stream of moisture continuing to bombard a huge area of California.

This next round of rain, due to be heaviest from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, could bring about two inches or rain or more to Santa Rosa, according to weather service forecasts. Accompanying that are wind advisory warnings estimating strong gusts to 45 mph and sustained winds of 35 mph. Especially high tides have led to coastal flooding warnings as well.

The forecasts have firefighters prepping for what could come.

“It’s just planning right now, figuring out what we’re going to do. We’re continually driving roads. People are calling and making sure we have plenty of sandbags,” said Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman.

With the rising river and predictions the river could rise above 38 feet on Wednesday, Monte Rio and Russian River firefighters have placed engines at strategic spots known to become inaccessible during floods.

“Thirty eight to 40 feet starts giving us access issues,” said Baxman.

At the predicted cresting level for Wednesday evening, flooding will remain in the lower portions of the Russian River, inundating Freezout Road between Monte Rio and Duncan’s Mills. Also Highway 116 would flood below Cazadero Road, according to Sonoma County reports.

Downtown Guerneville will remain above the flood level and the main route through town will remain open. The main stretch of town typically floods at 45 feet.

Sonoma County spokeswoman Rebecca Wachsberg said the area should get a slight breather Tuesday from inundating water as the river was down in the 32‑foot range, a level considered to be the start of flood stage. The river has been breaching 36‑feet and higher at recent peaks.

About 650 households are impacted by the flood in some way, which could mean an access road to a residence is under water, utilities are down or there is water on the property or in the residence, Wachsberg said.

The county has no estimate yet on how many homes are taking in water. No resident has contacted its emergency damage assessment team. Residents can report damage online at http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/SoCo-Report-It/

The county opened a shelter at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial building, but no one showed up and it was closed. It can be quickly reopened if people require assistance, Wachsberg said.

“There are a lot of longtime residents who have been through this before,” Wachsberg said. “There are also a number of newcomers to the river (area).”

This latest weather onslaught follows a multi-day storm session that has brought substantial rainfall totals throughout the North Bay and already caused minor flooding and advisory evacuations along parts of the Russian River.

Downpours Monday night into Tuesday pushed rainfall totals higher in the North Bay than expected, bringing almost three inches to the hills west of Healdsburg and about an inch in several areas of the county.

Rainfall totals overnight included 1.3 inches at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport and just over ½ inch in downtown Santa Rosa.

The rain run should taper off Thursday, when a smaller system is due. But Friday some high pressure should arrive and hold back any inclement weather, allowing the area to dry out from Friday to late next week. There is the potential for another storm to roll in Jan. 19, Garcia said.

9 a.m.

A survey early Tuesday of seven homes threatened by a large mudslide in Monte Rio showed no obvious damage to the homes during the night, according to a Sonoma County official.

The homes in the area of the large Santa Rosa Avenue slide were red tagged Monday, meaning residents had to evacuate due to the instability of the hillside, said Rebecca Wachsburg, county spokeswoman.

Tuesday’s forecast for heavy rain and winds ramped up concerns by Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman, who was at the fire house about dawn making sure he had sand and bags available for worried residents.

The longtime Russian River area chief anticipated a day full of flooding and mudslide problems.

“If we get the storm they’re talking about it’s going to be ugly out there,” Baxman said. “The wind is going to kill us. The roads are all flooded and a lot of slides are starting. The hills are so saturated.”

The rain- and runoff-swollen Russian River has been flooding lower levels of the region since the weekend storms and the county has advised hundreds of residents to leave their flood-prone areas. Other than the red tagged homes, no residents have been ordered to leave.

Current predictions have the Russian River rising to 37.5 inches on Wednesday evening, which would lead to significant flooding in low-level areas including Mirabel Park and stretching into Rio Nido. At 38 feet, flooding becomes extensive in the region.

“It rained like heck last night,” Baxman said. “My indicators are that the (river) hasn’t dropped a bit. We may hit 38 feet.”

7:59 a.m.

Falling trees and mudslides were blocking a variety of Sonoma County roads early Tuesday, including one across Highway 1 north of Jenner, as another day of rain dawned.

As the rains ramped up Monday night Forestville and Windsor firefighters rescued five teens trapped in a flooding pickup truck. The teens had bypassed blockades and warning signs and headed into a flooded stretch of Starr Road, according to emergency officials.

“Some kids tried to navigate out there in a pickup and didn’t make it,” Windsor fire Battalion Chief Matt Gustafson said Tuesday. The water reached up to the cab and was flooding the interior and the engine compartment.

The teens called for help about 8:50 p.m., getting the two fire agencies as well as Windsor police and the Sonoma County sheriff’s helicopter, which flew in a torrential downpour to help firefighters locate the juveniles, Gustafson said.

There were at least 14 Sonoma County roadways closed Tuesday morning due to flooding, according to a county road website. Three more were closed from mudslides and at least one from a fallen tree.

The Russian River remained over flood stage and a forecast was calling for heavier rain and winds later Tuesday into Tuesday night.

“River Road is still open,” said CHP Officer Steve Fricke. “But all the lower lying roads around it, a lot of them are shut down.”

Major roadways with closures still in places included Highway 121 at Schellville in east Sonoma County. It was closed all Monday and was expected to be closed Tuesday because of the continued rain, Fricke said.

Mark West Station Road Tuesday was closed in three areas due to flooding, at Starr, Slusser and Trenton-Healdsburg roads.

Road crews and firefighters were hustling to clear the downed trees and get roadways opened. Tree problems were reported on Franz Valley Road, Highway 1 at Meyers Grade and a slide was blocking Geysers Road near River Road, according to CHP dispatch reports.

The Highway 1 problem was reported at 6:35 a.m. as a tree blocking both highway lanes. Firefighters reported having the highway cleared by 7:25 a.m.

The National Weather Service on Monday extended flood warnings for the Russian River through Wednesday while calling for 2-to-4 inches of rain over most of Sonoma County Tuesday.

No major crashes were reported in Sonoma County early Tuesday.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com.

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