A look back at historic floods in Sonoma County

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From the inconveniences of flooded roadways to the powerful earth moving waters of Russian River floods, Sonoma County has had its share of historic deluges.

We all remember the 2014 kayakers in Healdsburg, making the most of the rainy day as they cruised down Center Street but floods in Sonoma County have been significantly more serious.

During the Christmas floods of 1955, two storms four days apart, the Russian River crested at 47.62 feet in Guerneville. Locals recall Santa Claus visiting hungry families at the Hilton Resort, hauling in dinner on a National Guard amphibian.

In 1982, powerful waters led to landslides. Hillsides crumbled and Salmon Creek spilled its banks taking an entire trailer park with it.

The Valentine’s Day storm of 1986 dumped 10 inches of rain on the river communities in a few short hours. Winds blew roofs off houses and destroyed barns, as the river reached a high at Guerneville of 48.9 feet.

In 1995, a gusher forced families to be evacuated by helicopter as the storm brought river levels again to above 48 feet. The resilient residents of Guerneville waited for the waters to recede in a Red Cross shelter in Sebastopol.

There are many other storms and stories that top the “worst” list, these are just a few.

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