HSFC_2017_01_11

(Jacob Rumans) #1

XXXXX• SFChronicle.com |Wednesday,January 11, 2017|A


can happen, a lot ofwater will
flow under the bridge in
Guerneville.About 45,
cubic feet ofit per second, the
U.S. Geological Survey said.
Elsewhere in theNorth Bay,
flooding forced theclosure of
Highway 128 inNapa County,
possibly until theweekend.
Heavy wind and rain prompt-
ed park rangers toclose Muir
Woods NationalMonument,
Stinson Beach, Tennessee
Valley andPoint Bonita.
Small crowds in Ross and
San Anselmowatched the
roilingwaters of CorteMade-
ra Creek asit came within 6
inches of jumping into the
street during the day Tuesday.
“It’s asclose asit can get
withoutflooding,” said Rich
Gutierrez,53, theowner of a
bike shop inRoss, who was
watching thewater dance
around the bottom of the
LagunitasAvenue Bridge,
which had been raised in
recentyears to prevent flood-
ing.
By evening, the creek rose
more than a footabove its
usualflood stag e of 13 feet and
threatened the businesses that
had linedup their sandbags in
preparation.
Flood alarmswere sounded
at 6:45 p.m. and thoughevac-
uation orderswere issued for
downtown San Anselmo,
crowds still gathered towatch
the waters rise.While they
pooled in thestreets and
lappedat lines of sandbags set
up to keep them out, they
appeared to leave most homes
and businesses untouched.
As the rainsstopped, the
floodwaters receded and the
evacuation orderswere lifted
about 9 p.m.Authorities
planned tokeep watch, but
said they believed the danger
had passed.
In San Francisco, morning


king tides rose to 7 feet
around 9 a.m., spillingwater
onto the Embarcadero and
other low-lying areas and
prompting the Weather Ser-
vice to issue a coastal-flood
advisory. In the afternoon, the
rain loosened rocks that tum-
bled onto busyO’Shaugnessy
Boulevard in theGlen Park
neighborhood,shutting the
thoroughfare.
BART service between the
BalboaParkand Colmasta-
tionswas halted forabout
four hours after two trains
struck a storm-tossed tree on
the tracks.
Late Tuesday, a mudslide

closedState Route 84 between
Fremont and Sunol in south-
ern Alameda County.
The entire regionstretching
south intoMonterey County
was under a high-windwarn-
ing, a particularly troubling
concern for emergency crews
rushing from call to call
across the already water-
logged region.
“High winds will likely
bring a lot more treesdown,”
said Stev e Anderson, a meteo-
rologist with the Weather
Service.
In the Sierra, a blizzard
warningwas in effect until
noonWednesday, followed by

a winterstorm warning
through 10 a.m.Thursday.
Driving will be fraught with
delays and dangers, and road
closures are likely, authorities
said.
Squa w, Alpine and Boreal
ski resortswere closed Tues-
day, and Northstarwas oper-
ating only five of its 20 lifts.
At the south end of LakeTa-
hoe, Heavenly ski resort man-
aged to operate four ofits 29
lifts inski conditions that
were not for thefaint of heart.
At YosemiteNationalPark,
rangers reopenedYosemite
Valley to day-use visitors
Tuesday morning, although

Highway 140, the ElPortal
Road, remainedclosedat the
park boundary because of a
rockslide blocking lanes in
both directions.
Chronicle staff writers Sarah Ravani
and Michael Bodley contributed to
this story.

Evan Sernoffsky, Peter Fimrite
and Steve Rubenstein are San
Francisco Chronicle staff writers.
Email: esernoffsky@
sfchronicle.com, pfimrite@
sfchronicle.com and
srubenstein@sfchronicle.com
Twitter:@EvanSernoffsky,
@pfimrite, @Steve RubeSF

Harrison
Gulch

Harrison
Gulch

Pocket CanyonPocketCanyonCreekCreek

Green
Valley
Creek

Green
Valley
Creek

Hobson
Creek

Hobson
Creek

Fife
Smith Creek
Creek

Smith
Creek

Mission
Creek

Mission
Creek

MOSCOW RD.MOSCOW RD.

RIVRIVER RD.ERRD.

WESTSIDE RD.

RIV
ER
RD.

RIVER RD.

MIRABEL RD.MIRABEL RD.

MonteMonteRioRio

RioNido

KorbelKorbel

Rolands

Forest HillsForestHills

Noel HeightsNoelHeights

Santa NellaSantaNella

Guernewood
Park

Guernewood
Park

EdendaleEdendale

NortNorthwoodhwood

ForestvilleForestville

HaciendaHacienda

116

116

01
MILE

Guerneville

DutchBill
Creek

DutchBill
Creek

BOHEMIAN
HWY.

BOHEMIAN
HWY.

100-year flood zone Floodway

Russian River

FifeFife
CreekCreek

RolandsRolands

DE RDDE RD.

Pacific
Ocean

Santa
Rosa

Santa
Rosa
PetalumaPetaluma

Jenner

020
MILES

DD.

PacificPacific
OOceaOceann

DETAIL

0

10

20

30

40

50

FFAJJMMMFFDDFFDDJJDDFFF FFJJJJJJDDJJFFMMJJJJDDJJFFMMMJJFFFJJJFFMMDDFFJJJFFMDD
’40 ’42 ’44’45 ’48 ’50’51 ’54’55 ’58 ’60 ’62 ’64 ’66’68 ’70’71’74’76’78 ’80 ’81’83’86 ’88 ’90 ’92’94 ’96 ’98 ’00’02 ’04 ’06 ’08 ’10 ’12 ’

J=January
F=February
M=March
A=April
D=December

Floodstage: 32’

Historical river heights near Guerneville In feet


46.87’

49.6’ 48.56’ 48.01’
44.26’

Dec. 23, 1955
49.7’

Sources: USGS, Sonoma County, Permit and Resource Management GIS John Blanchard/The Chronicle

The Russian River is expected to rise to 38.4 feet at Guerneville on Wednesday night


Leah Millis /The Chronicle
Residents prepareto take a loaded pickup ac ross a floodedroad inGuerneville,where a 38.4-foot crest isexpectedWednesday.

Storm from page A


“Atmospheric rivers occur
every winter,it’s just a matter
of where they occur,” said
Ralph.“The last twoyears
they’ve been missing in Cali-
fornia.In the past three
monthswe’ve had a large num-
ber.”
On Tuesday, the much-
watchedNorthern Sierra
Eight-Station Precipitation
Inde x, which measures rainfall
between the Oregon border
and LakeTahoe, approached
42 inches, the mostever record-
ed at this point in the October-
through-Septemberwater year.
Meanwhile, snowpack, a
barometer of therunoff that
will fill reservoirs in spring
and summer,was at 135 percent
of normal for the date.
While thestate’ s Southland
has notfared aswell, northerly
precipitation remains the most
vital in the drought picture
becauseit feeds the big reser-
voirs thatsupply water across
the state.
California has beenstrug-
gling with dry conditions since



  1. Last winterwasn’t as bad,
    bringingabove-average snow
    and rain to the north amid an
    El Niño weather pattern, but
    water supplies have remained
    short.
    While thisyear’s wet weath-
    er has been a boon for reser-
    voirs, fi ve ye ars of drought
    forced many communities to
    rely heavily onaquifers, and
    undergroundsupplies in many


places are nowdepleted.
“We have not busted our
groundwater drought,” said
JeffreyMount, a senior fellow
at the PublicPolicy Inst itute of
California’sWater Policy Cen-
ter.
Since 30 percent of thestate’s
water supply comes from the
ground, and asmuchas 60
percentwhen surface supplies
dry up, Mount said California’s

aquifers need more time —
years, if notdecades — to re-
cover.
Other problems wrought by
the drought show little sign of
immediate improvement.
A massive die-off of dry,
beetle-infested trees continues
to plague the Sierra.Fish that
suffered fromyears ofover-
drawn rivers, some on the
brink of extinction, remain
without assurances of winning
back habitat. Dried-up soils
and farmland could alsogo a
long time without recovery.
There’s fear, too, that the
rainy season,which generally
runs from late October through
March, couldstill take a turn
for theworse. The water year
has started with a blockbuster
December before, only tostall
out the rest of winter.
The state’ s official drought
decl aration, issuedby Gov.
Jerry Brown inJanuary 2014,
has yet to be lifted.
The unprecedented ration-
ing thatwas mandated for
cities and towns, anddeep
water cuts forfarmers, have
been eased.But many of the

regulationsgoverningwater
deliveries remain.
“There are just some com-
munities that arestill strug-
gling,” saidMike Anderson,
the state climatologist with the
Department ofWater Resourc-
es.
Santa Barbara, for example,
watched one ofits main reser-
voirs, LakeCuchuma, miss out
on most of the recentstorms,
and the lake remains less than
a quarter full.
Other reservoirs, mostly in
Southern California, are also
yet to near capacity afteryears
of withdrawals outpacing in-
flows.
“Everybody has theirown
portfolio ofsupply options and
theirown portfolio ofde-
mands, andit’s really a matter
of figuring out how to balance
them in each of these areas,”
Anderson said. “We’re certain-
ly in a better place thanwe’ve
been.”

Kurtis Alexander is a San
Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Email: kalexander@sfchronicle.
com Twitter: @kurtisalexander

Drough tfrom page A


Brian L. Frank /Specialto The Chronicle
The Russian River at fl ood stag e in Guerneville onMonday.
The river was expectedto crest slightly higher onWednesday.
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