Storm slams western United States, raises flood fears to California

Tim Russell of Guerneville attempts to pull a motorist from Armstrong Woods Road on Tuesday

Tim Russell of Guerneville attempts to pull a motorist from Armstrong Woods Road on Tuesday

The river topped 32 feet (9.8 meters) Tuesday evening and it could crest at more than 46 feet (14 meters) by Wednesday night, which would be the highest level in about a quarter-century. "All roads leading to the community are flooded".

In neighboring Napa County, the Napa River in San Helena could also overflow. The nearby town of Monte Rio was also isolated by floodwaters and all roads leading to it were swamped. The record peak for the Russian River is 49.50 feet in 1986, the National Weather Service reported.

But manager Andre Vazquez said the one-story building could be largely submerged that if the river reaches 46 feet.

"These things are fast changing and you do need to pay attention", said Nina Sheehan.

The owners of the inn told KPIX they called rideshare companies to pick people up.

The declaration asks Gov. Gavin Newsom to proclaim a state of emergency that would waive regulations that could hinder response and recovery efforts and provide assistance and relief programs for damage caused by this year's storms and flooding.

Thousands of people in Sonoma County remained under evacuation orders.

"Nobody is coming or going from the Guerneville area at this time", said sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum. "We're not trying to have people stand on their roofs and get saved in the middle of the night", Gore said Tuesday. The river was expected to crest at 26.6 feet later in the day.

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Some two dozen communities along the Russian River in Sonoma County were ordered evacuated Tuesday evening shortly before the waterway passed flood stage. Reached by telephone, Bridges said there was about 7 feet of water at his two-story home in Guerneville Wednesday but was not anxious.

Parts of the Sonoma region were impacted by the deadly wildfires that ravaged Northern California in 2017, resulting in mass evacuations and the deaths of dozens in surrounding counties.

Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said Wednesday that service on the California Zephyr rail line has been suspended until weather conditions improve from a series of storm that has dumped rain in Northern California and snow in the mountains that divide the state from Nevada.

Several areas in California set record-high rainfall totals, including nearby Santa Rosa, which had almost 8 inches of rain in one day.

The CHP Air Ops helicopter assisted in the Wednesday rescue of at least two people trapped by flood waters. The often-waterlogged Venado weather station 5 miles from Guerneville recorded more than 20 inches of rain in 48 hours.

Several mountain highways, including Interstate 80 at Donner Summit, were repeatedly closed for short periods Monday because of spinouts or avalanche concerns.

Monte Rio and Guerneville are now "an island" as Highway 12 is closed due to flooding near Sebastopol, and many other roads are closed as well.

Farther south, a downed tree closed both directions of Walnut Creek's busy Ygnacio Valley Road early Wednesday morning.

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