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Santa Rosa rainfall passes annual average

PG&E crews work to restore power to residents on Mill Creek Rd. near Healdsburg on Sunday morning, January 22, 2017. A slide on the road brought down a tree across power lines forcing the closure of the road. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

DAN TAYLOR,

Weekend storms triggered mudslides and felled trees along the North Coast, with a round of heavy rains striking Saturday night followed by substantial rains Sunday.

By 4 p.m. Sunday, total rainfall measured at the Charles M. Schulz—Sonoma County Airport had, in the past four months, surpassed the usual average for an entire year, including 2.06 inches of rain over 24 hours at the airport north of Santa Rosa.

Measured from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, the average rainfall at the airport gauge is 35.13, said Mark Strudley of the National Weather Service in Monterey. On Sunday, the total measured since last Oct. 1 reached 37.03 inches, he said. The record in Santa Rosa for the Oct. 1-Sept. 30 “rain year” is 55.68 inches, the weather service reported.

A large swath of scattered thunderstorms on the North Coast prompted isolated pockets of heavy rain, he said, with a new wave moving inland Sunday afternoon. The forecast called for rain continuing until early Monday morning with localized flooding, Strudley said.

A flood warning was issued by the NWS for small streams in southeastern Sonoma County through 7:30 a.m. Monday.

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The good news was that the fierce winds from Saturday night had abated.

“We’re not expecting any more strong winds. There might be some pickup Tuesday,” said Anna Schneider, an NWS meterologist.

Showers were expected on and off Monday and into the evening, she said. After a shower or two Tuesday, the rest of the week is expected to be dry.

Crews labored at sites all over the county to clear roads blocked by mud and fallen trees in the wake of Saturday’s rain and strong winds. At 3 p.m. Sunday 10 roads were still closed from slides or flooding.

“I know the county road crew resources are kind of overwhelmed today,” said Battalion Chief Herb Wandell of the Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District, which serves Cotati and Penngrove.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. reported scattered power outages around Occidental, Sebastopol, Valley Ford and Rohnert Park.

Highway 37 was closed by flooding in both directions between Highway 101 and Atherton Avenue in Novato just before 7 a.m. The California Highway Patrol said it could remain closed all week.

Hot Springs Road in Cloverdale was closed Sunday afternoon from a mudslide, according to the County of Sonoma road closure website.

Summerhome Park Road at Forestville was blocked by a large slide at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, cutting off access for an unknown number of residents, said Jon Gonzalez, who was supervising a Sonoma County crew Sunday at the scene.

Residents reported the road was cleared by Sunday evening.

But 21 homes in Summerhome Park remained without power Sunday night, with the possibility that electricity might not be restored until after noon today, according to PG&E spokesman JD Guidi.

Longtime Summerhome Park resident Trudi Millerstorm, 70, was making do Sunday night with candles, a fireplace for warmth and a propane burner to heat coffee and food.

“I’ve lived here for years. When it comes to electricity, I’m good,” she said.

Mitzi Forbes, a 20-year resident of Summerhome Park, said trees coming down are “part and parcel of living here.

“It’s the flip side of living on the beautiful Russian River,” she said. “Three hundred and sixty days a year are perfect, and you have five days with no power and flooding.”

Plenty of roads, particularly in the West County, were impacted by high water.

West of Santa Rosa, Trenton Healdsburg Road and Todd Road between Old Gravenstein Highway and Llano Road were closed by flooding.

At other times Sunday, Windsor Road in Windsor, Valley Ford Freestone Road in Valley Ford and Bodega Highway at Furlong Road were all closed.

A mudslide, tangled with fallen trees and felled power lines, blocked part of Mill Creek Road just west of Healdsburg early Sunday morning.

A Healdsburg Fire Deparment crew arrived on the scene at 5707 Mill Creek Road, west of Palmer Creek Road, shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday, said Capt. Mack Montanye of the Healdsburg Fire Deptarment.

Sonoma County road crews and PG&E crews were called out to clear the road.

On Saturday night, a fallen tree blocked both the north and south lanes of Highway 101 north of Hopland, delaying traffic from about 9:30 to 11:15 p.m., before the road was cleared, said Capt. Pete Bushby of the Ukiah Valley Fire Department.

The name of a Ukiah woman killed early Saturday when an oak tree fell on her apartment was still unavailable Sunday, authorities said.

Staff Writer Clark Mason contributed to this report.

You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @danarts.