Extreme Weather Updates
February 27th, 2019 by Selina Flores
County Storm Update 2: Evacuation Order Issued
Evacuations Ordered Now for Residents Near the Russian River
SANTA ROSA, CA – The latest prediction from the California Nevada River Forecast Center indicates the Russian River will reach minor flood stages of 32 feet at 7 pm tonight, and it is anticipated that it will peak at 11 pm tomorrow, February 27, at a crest of 46.1 feet at Guerneville. It is expected that the Russian River will recede below flood levels, at 32 feet, at 10 pm on Thursday, February 28th.
In response, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders to residents living near the Russian River floodway and its tributaries through the Wireless Emergency Alert system (WEA), SoCoAlert and other social media tools. If you are planning to evacuate, we recommend you evacuate now to help clear the roads for emergency vehicles this evening.
You can view a map of areas that will be inundated on SoCoEmergency.org. At 46 feet, main roads such as River Road will be impassable. You may consider evacuating if you live beyond roads that will be impassible.
The Emergency Operations Center is open to provide updated information and emergency services to all Sonoma County residents, and a command center is being activated in Graton to monitor and assist with operations.
The Bohemian Highway has closed south of Monte Rio. Residents are advised to use River Road as their evacuation route. Please drive safely and use caution while evacuating and prepare for slowed road conditions from the storm and increased traffic.
Drivers are encouraged to observe road closures and use detour routes. Road closure information for the unincorporated areas can be found at RoadConditions.sonoma-county.org. Please call Transportation and Public Works at (707) 565-5100 to report a road obstruction from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 565-2121 after hours.
Two shelters are available for those who evacuate. Both allow pets.
● Sebastopol Center for the Arts at 282 S High St, Sebastopol, CA 95472 starting at 3:00 PM on February 26, 2019.
● Grace Pavillion at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds at 1350 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, starting at 5:00 PM on February 26, 2019.
Risk of Mudslides
Current weather conditions and soil saturation levels are creating conditions for mudslides – rivers of mud that move fast, and with little to no warning. Mudslides usually occur when water rapidly accumulates on steep slopes, which results in a surge of water-saturated rock, earth, and debris.
As water carries debris downhill, material can get trapped behind roads and structures, causing washouts. The potential for these conditions are prominent throughout the hillside neighborhoods in the Russian River region. Areas that burned in the 2017 Sonoma Complex fires are particularly vulnerable to mudslides.
Here’s your guide on what to do before, during, and after a mudslide:
● Monitor local media, sign up for alerts.
● Create and practice an evacuation plan for your family and your business.
● Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit.
● Become familiar with the land around where you live and work so that you understand your risk in different situations.
● Stay awake and observe your surroundings.
● Listen for unusual sounds like trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
● Watch for:
○ Leaning trees and utility poles
○ Water coming through the ground in new places
○ Widening cracks in the ground or street
○ Decks or patios that start to lean away from a house
○ Doors or windows that stick or jam for the first time
○ New cracks in tiles, bricks, or building foundations
● Move away from the path of a landslide or debris flow as fast as you can.
● If you can’t escape, curl into a tight ball and cover your head with your hands and arms.
● Stay away from the slide area. There may be additional slides.
● Do not touch dangling or loose wires, even with an object.
Call the Sheriff’s Dispatch at (707)-565-2121 to report any land movement.
Sandbags are likely available for purchase from your local hardware store. The County is providing sandbags for residents at the following locations, while supplies last:
Sandbag Pickup https://socoemergency.org/home/emergency/sandbag-locations/
PG&E is actively monitoring and repairing power outages. Information about outages may be found at pge.com/#outages.
Numerous Regional Parks are closed to protect the safety of park goers. For the latest list of all impacted parks and trails, please visit parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov.
The Sonoma County Office of Education is maintaining a list of all school closures on its website. For a complete list of school closures please visit scoe.org/storm-update.html
Residents and businesses are encouraged to sign up for SoCoAlert to receive local emergency alerts and warnings. Emergency officials use the SoCoAlert Emergency Notification System to deliver incident-specific information or life-saving instructions to the precise geographic areas. To register, please go to SoCoAlert.com, or call (866)939-0911.
For additional information, visit SoCoEmergency.org or call (707)565-3856. The County will post pertinent information on Facebook: facebook.com/SonomaCountyCal ; and Twitter: twitter.com/CountyofSonoma.
Flood Safety Tips
● Monitor local media, sign up for alerts.
● Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
● Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
● Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, 1 foot can sweep away a small car, and 2 feet of water can carry away most vehicles.
● If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
● If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Remain in the car if the water is moving.
● Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
Don’t touch or go near fallen or dangling power lines. Call 911.
Always assume that a fallen power line is live, and follow these guidelines:
● Avoid touching the downed line — with your hand or an object, such as a stick, or broom.
● Avoid touching anything in contact with a fallen power line, such as a car, object or equipment, or person.
● Avoid driving over a fallen power line.
● Call 911 immediately to report a fallen power line.
● If a power line touches your car, stay inside your car. Call 911 and wait for emergency help.
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