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GUERNEVILLE - The sun came out Wednesday, and even a few hours without the threat of rain gave the people of this beleaguered riverside town a chance to breathe and take stock.

In this hamlet of some 4,500, where the forces of nature hold sway and longtime residents readily share memories of flooding in 1978, ’86, ’95, ’06, people know the drill and tend to greet high water with a kind of can-do pragmatism and neighborly cooperation.

The Russian River Wednesday was still swelling, shunting an impressive mass of water the color of creamed coffee past vineyards and villages strung out through miles of Sonoma County and inundating the lowest lying areas.

But it was approaching its peak, and after four days of heavy rains, power failures, road closures and the uncertainty that comes with them, a break from the storm brought a sense that the adrenaline-filled days of angst and preparation might soon be over.

“We are all just decompressing,” Rodger Jensen, manager and event coordinator at the r3 Hotel in downtown Guerneville, said outside the resort Wednesday afternoon, as a steady stream of friends passed by, exchanging hugs and assurances that everyone was OK.

Folks help each other out, keep tabs, make room and otherwise do what they can to ease the hardships that are unavoidable for those in areas where even minimal flooding can block access or put lives and property at risk, they say.

“This is the most tight-knit town I’ve ever been in,” 30-year resident Larry Boeger said, leaving the r3, where he took refuge for the night after moving temporarily from his waterfront home, loading what he could into a U-Haul trailer parked nearby.

Dick Blomster, owner of Pat’s bar and neighboring Blomster’s diner and Korean Barbecue on Main Street, said the camaraderie in the community is what makes the situation bearable.

“Everybody comes together and helps each other,” Blomster said, “and yeah, we’re all there for each other.”

But it’s still stressful, in part because of shifting weather and river forecasts that, for a time late Tuesday, predicted the river would crest just shy of 40 feet Wednesday in Guerneville, 2 feet higher than it ultimately did with substantially less painful results.

The flooding spread slightly but remained mainly in pockets around town that had been submerged already, including areas a few blocks north of Main Street, where Fife Creek is always the first to spill its banks as it funnels water from the runoff and tributaries around Armstrong Woods. Homes at the end of Mill and Church streets had been surrounded since at least Monday, cut off from town by several yards of water too deep for four-wheeled vehicles.

Similarly, Old River Road just east of central Guerneville remained under water, as did neighborhoods across the river from downtown, around Drake and Neeley Roads, where the inundated Pee Wee Golf & Arcade — its huge, colorful dinosaurs and other figures poking above the water’s surface — is an enduring favorite of news photographers.

In many areas, residents stood on balconies and porches surveying the scene from homes significantly elevated in recent years because they are so prone to flooding.

Even as locals, they seemed fascinated by the corners of town where sloping roads disappeared into muddied flood waters and the sight of people under sunny blue skies going about their business via kayak, canoe or rowboat, often ferried by strangers.

On Wednesday, such sites functioned at times as small-scale ports or boat launches, busy with people coming and going on their way to work or to pick up supplies.

Lane Friedman, her husband, Matthew Lonardo, and their two small children went out to get groceries on Wednesday and were packing the canoe for the return trip to their home on the lowest spot of Mill Street, which had been surrounded by floodwaters since Saturday.

They bought the canoe last summer for this very purpose.

Friedman, 32, said they were delighted to have been able to find a home in Sonoma County that they could afford and bought it with the knowledge that it is among the first to flood. Given the livestock who live nearby and the water in their garage nearly to the ceiling, she knows the clean-up will be unpleasant, but said it’s worth it, even after two floods in their first four years there, December 2014 and now.

“We’re pretty used to accepting that we flood,” she said.

Across the river at Neeley Road, part of which had been underwater since Sunday, the water was about 6 or 7 feet deep Wednesday, said Steve Gerst, who measured it with his paddle as he kayaked around the small RV park he bought a few years ago.

Even members of the National Guard, heading to the other side to ferry back an elderly man en route to the doctor, as well as several neighbors, had trouble making it through in a 5-ton truck Wednesday, though they ultimately succeeded.

Nearby, Greg Stiles, 56, was waiting by his canoe to pick up his wife, Mara Zaharin, who had just finished a 24-hour shift as a flagger for PG&E. Once she arrived, they boarded a canoe for the paddle home at the end of Neeley Road.

Meanwhile, Bruce MacDonell delivered several people from one side of the water to the other in his flat-bottom boat. He had posted on social media that he would be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to take people across.

“Small town,” said one of his passengers, Matthew Quistgard, 25. “People looking out for each other.”