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Sonoma County storm updates: Thousands still without power in Sonoma County

About 7,800 homes and businesses in Sonoma County remained without power as of early Monday afternoon, said a spokeswoman for PG&E.|

Do you have photos from the storm? We want to see them! Send them to onlineideas@pressdemocrat.com. Please be sure to tell us when and where you took the photo.

A torrent of rain, fueled by what meteorologists described as an “atmospheric river,” wreaked havoc starting Saturday night, worsening throughout the day before easing locally Sunday evening.

Here is the latest on the storm and its aftermath:

3:30 p.m.

River flows a day after the atmospheric river passed over Sonoma County are about as epic as you’d expect.

“It’s been a while,” U.S. Geological Survey field office Chief Andrew Watson said Monday when asked how long it had been since he’d seen this amount of water flowing in the North Bay. “Peaks at all our sites are substantially higher than last year.”

How high?

Watson was measuring volume on the Russian River in Healdsburg when a reporter reached him. As he noted, average flow at that spot for Oct. 25 over the past 82 years is 286 cubic feet per second. The river he had just measured was at 11,200. And at its crest, around midnight as Saturday became Sunday, was more than 18,000 feet per second.

1:30 p.m.

About 7,800 homes and businesses in Sonoma County remained without power as of 1:15 p.m. Monday, said Deanna Contreras, spokeswoman for PG&E.

Most of those impacted were in Sebastopol, Occidental, Forestville and Guerneville. About 380 customers in Petaluma were without power and another 600 in Santa Rosa were also waiting for power to be restored.

On Highway 121 in Schellville, six vehicles that were washed out when drivers tried to cross the flooded areas around 7 a.m. remained stuck in the waters, according to the California Highway Patrol Napa office.

Six cars were washed out when drivers tried to cross  flooded areas of Highway 121 in Schellville on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, according to authorities. (CHP Napa)
Six cars were washed out when drivers tried to cross flooded areas of Highway 121 in Schellville on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, according to authorities. (CHP Napa)

Traffic was being diverted from the flooded section of the highway, at the interchange with Highway 12, said Sgt. Brad Bradshaw. Still, six drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles, which included a Porsche, a Mercedes-Benz, a BMW and an Amazon Prime delivery van.

The drivers were able to safely exit without injuries or need for a rescue, Bradshaw said.

“Basically, use common sense,” Bradshaw said. “If you look at something and you don’t know if you can get across it, don’t attempt it.”

Six cars were washed out when drivers tried to cross  flooded areas of Highway 121 in Schellville on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, according to authorities. (CHP Napa)
Six cars were washed out when drivers tried to cross flooded areas of Highway 121 in Schellville on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, according to authorities. (CHP Napa)

1 p.m.

As the wind and rain subsided Monday morning, the National Weather Service confirmed that a record amount of precipitation fell on Santa Rosa on Sunday.

The final tally for the city was 7.83 inches rainfall, easily more than the previous record of 5.66 inches set on Feb. 26, 2019, National Weather Service meteorologist Sean Miller said Monday. Sunday’s rain was far more than the old record for Oct. 24, which was 4.67 inches in 1962.

11 a.m.

Cloverdale City Park, located at 450 West 2nd Street, will be closed Monday and Tuesday due to safety concerns from a fallen tree, the Cloverdale Police Department said in a Nixle alert.

The city expects to reopen the park by Wednesday, Oct. 27.

10:30 a.m.

In Napa County, a mudslide closed Highway 128 between Markley Cove and the Solano and Yolo County line, the sheriff’s office said in a Nixle alert.

A few hours earlier, the Napa County Office of Emergency Services announced that Silverado Trail was closed from Madrone Knoll Way to Meadowood Lane due to storm impacts.

Find Napa County alerts here.

9:40 a.m.

Sonoma County Public Works continued to update its list of road closures and delays related to the storm Monday morning. Downed trees and flooding were affecting several routes in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg and Petaluma.

Find the full list here.

The Monterey office of the National Weather Service also extended the flood warning affecting central Sonoma County to 2 p.m. Monday. The warning afffects southwest Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Forestville and Graton.

Drivers are asked not to pass through flooded roadways, to avoid getting stuck in deep water and requiring rescue.

8:30 a.m.

Scattered showers are expected to pass through the North Bay throughout Monday, but the strongest rains have moved down over Santa Cruz and Monterey, according to the National Weather Service.

“As far as the heavy, heavy rainfall goes, we’re out of the woods on that one,” said meteorologist Brayden Murdoch.

The rain gauge at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport recorded 7.29 inches of rain over the last 48 hours. Petaluma experienced about 5.64 inches

The Venado rain gauge, as usual, logged the most rainfall, recording 14.26 inches of precipitation during that same period, Murdoch said.

Areas of central Sonoma County will remain under a flood warning through 9 a.m. Monday. Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Cotati, Forestville and Graton were all expected to continue to experience flooding.

Wind gust speeds in Sonoma County peaked in the high 50s and 60s, said Sean Miller, meteorologist. A 65 mph gust was logged west of Cloverdale, and 57 mph at Coleman Valley Road.

Mount St. Helena logged a 70 mph gust.

A high surf warning remains in place down the whole Bay Area coast. The storm has prompted a long period swell, meteorologists said, which will continue to cause large breaking waves of 20 to 30 feet through Tuesday at 11 a.m.

The Monterey office expected to look at historic rainfall later in the day, Murdoch said, to see how the rainfall from the weekend stacks up against years past.

7:50 a.m.

More than 12,000 Sonoma County customers were still without power Monday morning, even as crews from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. worked to restore connections.

The vast majority of those residents affected by outages are in the west county; adjacent broad swaths of Sebastopol, Forestville, Occidental, Camp Meeker and Guerneville accounted for around 11,000 customers. For most of those outages, the utility company did not yet have an estimated time for restoration.

Other smaller outages were also affecting residents in Petaluma and east Santa Rosa, in the Mark West Springs area and south of Trione-Annadel State Park.

View all outages here.

7:30 a.m.

More Sonoma County schools announced closures Monday due to flooding, the Sonoma County Office of Education said, after a weekend storm dumped rain across the Bay Area.

The list now includes Forestville Union School District, Harmony Union School District, Reach Charter School, Sebastopol Union School District, and Twin Hills Union School District.

SCOE late Sunday announced closures in Guerneville Elementary School District, Montgomery Elementary School District in Cazadero and Bennet Valley Union School District, though the latter has closed only its K-6 campuses. Its preschools remained open Monday.

You can reach Staff Writer Kaylee Tornay at 707-521-5250 or kaylee.tornay@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ka_tornay.

Do you have photos from the storm? We want to see them! Send them to onlineideas@pressdemocrat.com. Please be sure to tell us when and where you took the photo.

Kaylee Tornay

Education, The Press Democrat

Learning is a transformative experience. Beyond that, it’s a right, under the law, for every child in this country. But we also look to local schools to do much more than teach children; they are tasked with feeding them, socializing them and offering skills in leadership and civics. My job is to help you make sense of K-12 education in Sonoma County and beyond.  

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