Back-to-back storms make for wet week in Sonoma County

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The first wave of an unusually strong May storm hit the North Coast on Wednesday, beginning a series of wet spring days expected to last through at least Sunday.

The rainfall started early Wednesday morning and became heaviest by late afternoon, dropping 1.62 inches of rain in Santa Rosa by 7 p.m., National Weather Service Meteorologist Suzanne Sims said.

Santa Rosa Fire Battalion Chief Matt Gloeckner said there were two traffic accidents on Highway 12 and the Highway 101 interchange, plus another on southbound Highway 101 near Steele Lane, though no major injuries were reported.

“Speed and wet roads were definitely a factor in all of them,” he said.

Graton Fire Chief Bill Bullard said the west county agency had responded to a higher-than-expected number of calls, including trees down and a traffic collision.

Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said several large redwoods had fallen in the 2400 block of Cazadero Highway, and there were a number of other fallen trees in the Monte Rio area.

The multiday storm is set to drop as much as 3 inches of rain in the hills from Wednesday to Friday morning, with about 2 inches in lower-lying areas, said Carolina Walbrun, another meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The rain will linger through Thursday before yielding to clearer weather on Friday, then picking up again Saturday and Sunday, the weather service reported.

Since Oct. 1, Santa Rosa had received nearly 44 inches of rain, far exceeding the 35-inch average at this time of year, Walbrun said.

The storm likely will affect families attending some of the six commencement ceremonies at Sonoma State University over the weekend. The graduations are proceeding as planned despite the wet forecast, university spokesman Paul Gullixson said.

Already, the rain canceled and postponed events throughout the county, including Santa Rosa’s Wednesday Night Market opener and Saturday’s Healthcare Affair fundraiser organized by the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Sonoma County. Thursday’s Wine & Sunset benefit for the Museum of Sonoma County also was rescheduled to June 2.

Nine North Coast Section baseball and softball playoff games set for Wednesday were moved to Friday.

You can reach Staff Writers Andrew Beale at 707-521-5205 or andrew.beale@pressdemocrat.com and Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com.

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