Russian River mouth back open, averting flooding in Jenner
The mouth of the Russian River is now open and the water level beginning to fall after peaking just above flood level at the Jenner Visitors Center early Thursday morning, Sonoma County water officials said.
The river pushed through the sandy berm itself, opening a channel to the ocean before spilling over its banks and into the town itself.
Heavy surf has repeatedly dammed the river this season, dredging enough sand up across the mouth at Goat Rock Beach to seal up the mouth until enough water backs up behind it to break through or Sonoma Water, the county water agency, has a chance to mechanically breach it.
But with this week’s rainfall, the water rose quickly toward flood stage after the mouth closed Tuesday, agency spokesman Barry Dugan said. It was expected to flood the visitor center, at 10.3 feet, Thursday and spread onto Highway 1, at 12.3 feet, on Friday.
Instead, the water level peaked at 10.37 feet in Jenner around 4:30 a.m. Thursday before the river self-breached and the water surface began to decline, Sonoma Water said. It was expected to take several hours to stabilize, particularly given the effects of a high tide at mid-morning.
With relatively low overall rainfall this season and weeks of heavy wave action, the river has been closed much of the time.
Earlier this month, the river flooded the visitor center parking lot before the berm gave way.
You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.