A slow-moving atmospheric river that soaked already saturated soil during the first half of the workweek has caused multiple North Bay rivers and streams to soar above flood stage and beyond, forcing scores of people to flee their homes and businesses in search of higher ground.
The rising Russian River at Guerneville, which has already crossed above the “major” flooding mark of 40 feet, is forecasted to crest at 46 feet late Wednesday evening, according to weather officials. That predicted water level would be the sixth highest level ever recorded at Guerneville, a small Sonoma County community consisting of about 4,500 people.
“Guerneville is officially land locked,” the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook Wednesday morning. “Due to flooding all roads leading to the community are impassable. You will not be able to get into or out of town without a boat today.”
People in communities situated up and down the river have already been ordered to evacuate. Those who have fled their homes and businesses could be in a holding pattern until late Thursday evening when the river is expected to drop below flood stage.
Across the North Bay in Napa County, the Napa River near Napa is expected to crest at 26.6 feet — about 1.5 feet below the “major” flooding classification —around 8 a.m. Wednesday. That section of river is expected to drop below flood stage by late Wednesday afternoon.
In addition to the Russian River at Guerneville, at least three other spots in Sonoma County — the Russian River at Digger Bend near Healdsburg, Mark West Creek near Mirabel Heights and Willow Brook at Penngrove Park — have crossed into the “major” flooding territory as of early Wednesday morning.
This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Rising-North-Bay-Rivers-Flooding-Evacuations-506431091.html.