Lower Russian River set to crest over 33 feet in Guerneville (w/video)
Overnight rains continued to fill the Russian River to near flood stage early Friday, but so far water levels are lower than forecasts, according to Sonoma County emergency operations officials.
Russian River water levels at Guerneville were forecast to reach 33.3 feet at 11 a.m. on Friday. They were revised from a previous forecast of 34.3 feet, said county information officer Rebecca Wachsberg.
The river didn't hit 32 feet until 5:15 Friday morning, she said. Thirty-five feet is considered moderate flooding.
'It was helpful that there wasn't additional rain," Wachsberg said. "Most of the water in the river was from previous rain.'
Showers are likely to continue today with a slight chance of thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Highs will range from the upper 40s to lower 60s in Sonoma County.
Rain should ease into the evening, with mostly cloudy skies tonight and a chance of showers in the evening, according to the National Weather Service. Lows will be in the mid-30s to upper 40s.
Saturday will be partly cloudy with morning fog that should dissipate as the day wears on.
Sunday will start mostly cloudy with patchy fog in the morning and a slight chance of rain in the afternoon.
Rain is expected to return Sunday night, mostly after 10 p.m., with another half-inch or so of rain, the weather service forecasts.
Wet weather will continue into Monday.
By early Friday, 43 roads throughout the county were closed from storm-related causes, either from flooding or fallen trees or debris. Numerous schools were closed Friday as well.
About 4,500 customers spread throughout the county were without power, mostly in outages of 50 or fewer, according to Pacific Gas & Electric.
Many schools reopened after closing on Thursday. Officials advised calling the district to check if you hadn't received word of closure.
Sonoma County officials recommended voluntary evacuations for 278 residences in the Guerneville and Monte Rio areas. The county provided vans for transportation to shelters in both communities, but no one used them, Wachsberg said.
'That doesn't necessarily mean that no one followed the recommended voluntary evacuation,' she said, 'because people could have evacuated to friends and family or had their own transportation.'
A few horses were housed at the county fairgrounds, she said.
A new river forecast was expected mid-morning.
'We're still looking at the river rising,' Wachsberg said. 'We're just waiting to see what level it will rise to. We are still prepared to handle some level of flooding.'