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Major Flooding Leads To Rescues, Evacuations In California

04 March 2019

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office says in a statement Thursday that deputies were sent Wednesday night to the house in Ferndale, about 200 miles (322 kilometres) north of two California towns cut off by water from a river that broke its banks.

Sonoma County spokesman Hannah Euser said even though evacuation orders were lifted for Guerneville and Monte Rio, residents were encouraged to wait to enter their homes until they are inspected.

The Russian River, at its highest level since the late 1990s, was falling but still expected to be above flood stage until Friday morning.

By 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Russian River had topped 32 feet, and is expected to increase to about 46 feet by Wednesday evening, according to forecasters.

Jason Flint prepared for flooding in Northern California by putting his deli's valuable equipment on pallets and milk crates stacked several feet above the ground.

The flooding was the worst since 1995, when the Russian River rose to 48 feet (14.6 meters), said National Weather Service meteorologist Carolina Walbrun.

Multiple school closures were announced Wednesday in Sonoma County, including the Alexander Valley, Forestville, Guerneville, Geyserville, Harmony and Monte Rio districts.

A Northern California river that surged over its banks after days of rain has flooded some 2000 homes, businesses and other buildings.

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Other waterways, including the Napa River, also were expected to overflow their banks as an ocean-spanning plume of moisture continued tracking through the West. Snow from the storms closed roads and schools and toppled trucks and trees from OR to Montana.

The Napa River also crested on Wednesday, but the damage across Napa County was relatively minor compared to what Sonoma County has suffered. On some streets, the water reached the windows of cars.

A guest there from North Carolina told the station that she "made a decision to take the rental vehicle through the waist-high water and got two-thirds of the way and then the auto stalled".

"We saw quite a few fish swimming by my front porch", he said.

He says two were on a boat without paddles and one had to be rescued from a tree after driving her auto into floodwaters. "You just ride it out", said Bridges, noting that this flood was the fourth he's experienced in 33 years. The flooding has not caused any deaths or injuries, Dugan said.

Residents of Guerneville and other affected communities must now wait for the water to go away so that they can clean up the mud and take stock of the damage.

"It's the price you pay to live in paradise", he said.

The National Weather Service categorizes any floods above 45 feet as "disastrous" for Guerneville, predicting that almost all its downtown will flood at that height. "We're not trying to have people standing on their roofs and have to get saved in the middle of the night".

Major Flooding Leads To Rescues, Evacuations In California