HomeNew Year's Eve 2005: Russian River floods

Today is New Year's Day. The rains have returned and there's been quite a bit of wind, but astoundingly, the power is still on at my house up the hill from downtown Guerneville. Yesterday the weather was sunny and dry, which no doubt reduced the amount of runoff going into the river and helped keep it from flooding even higher than it did. The photos below were taken around 2 p.m. yesterday, when the river level was at about 38 feet at the USGS gauge at Johnson's Beach. Twelve hours later the river crested around 42 feet.

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Walking over the pedestrian bridge from downtown, you can see water is nearing the tops of the supports under the new bridge. People are stopping their vehicles on the bridge to take pictures of the roiling waters. Oh, thanks, we needed more traffic hazards! ... Consensus on the pedestrian bridge is, that white thing in the water is the nose of a canoe or kayak. I also saw a red janitor's bucket, wheels up, floating by. The path from the pedestrian bridge to Drake Road ends in water.

Pee Wee Golf is inundated and Drake Road is soup. Tom's out in his boat clearing debris from treetops.

Sea monsters rising from the deep! Perhaps this accounts for the fire truck and sheriff car blocking off the bridge. No, turns out they're landing a helicopter on the bridge. One person speculates it's a LifeFlight helicopter taking someone away. Someone else has heard they're dropping off a FEMA official who wanted to take a look around.

Looking back from the new bridge to the pedestrian bridge, you can see clouds coming in, but it's just going to sprinkle a little until the next day, when the rain and wind set in. Normally you would see Johnson's Beach jutting out into the river past the pedestrian bridge, but it's under many feet of water now.

The DISASTER UNIT has been parked across from Club FAB and the River Inn since the middle of last week. The main street is dry, but many businesses are closed. The army vehicles aren't going to the BEACH advertised in the sign they're passing, they're going to the Vets' Hall to pick up people evacuating to Sebastopol. The roads are closed to regular traffic and the evacuation buses they were running earlier can no longer get through. The street going to Johnson's Beach looks more like a boat launch than a road.

The Sonoma County Office of Emergency Services has current road information.

And of course the Sonoma County Library Flood - Quake - Emergency page has more links.

Sea monsters!