(CBS SF) — Residents in the North Bay were being ordered to evacuate their homes Tuesday night as waters rose above flood levels at the Russian River in Guerneville and Corte Madera Creek in San Anselmo.
The Sonoma County Emergency Operation Center issued an advisory evacuation notice for residents living in the Russian River flood way and its tributaries.
Residents were advised to leave the areas below the 38.3-foot flood level in the lower Russian River area and reminded to take essential items such as medicine.
For those who do not have relatives or friends outside of the evacuation area to stay with, an evacuation center at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial building at 1351 Maple Avenue is providing shelter for those in need.
Flood sirens were sounding in San Anselmo as the Corte Madera Creek level rose to almost 13 feet shortly before 7 p.m., up nearly a foot in 10 minutes.
Residents in San Anselmo and Ross Valley were advised to either move to higher floors in their homes or to evacuate altogether.
Shortly after 7:30 p.m., the creek was at 13.5 feet and San Anselmo Avenue was closed between Center Boulevard and Bolinas Avenue.
Central Marin Police Authority released this statement to the community: “Please DO NOT come into the area on foot to look at the creek. The water is moving very fast and is extremely dangerous.”
Ross Valley Fire Department posted an updated on their website at 8:18 p.m. saying a flash flood was occurring and that Corte Madera Creek was 8 inches above flood stage.
The evacuation order in San Anselmo was lifted at about 9 p.m.
Stafford Lake in Novato is at capacity. Heavy equipment has been called in, in case authorities need to re-direct water into pasture land.
Earlier Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for a number of Bay Area counties as steady rainfall continues to swamp the region.
According to the weather service, a flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. People who live in affected areas, especially those living near streams and creeks, are urged to move to higher ground immediately.
BART Train Hits Tree On Tracks Near Balboa Park
Flooded Roadways, Slides Make Travel Difficult In Napa County
Massive Tree Crashes Down On Danville Home
Downed Wires Cleared From I-880, Traffic Resumes
In Marin County, rain gauges showed heavy downpours across the Corte Madera watershed while rapidly rising water levels surpassed the monitor stage and were approaching flood stage, according the the weather service.
Other cities expected to experience flooding in addition to San Anselmo were Larkspur, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Kentfield and Ross.
In Santa Clara County, the Lexington Reservoir was spilling over the spillway, while water levels in Los Gatos Creek have reached the pathways bordering the creek, according to the weather service.
Flash flooding was occurring in the vicinity of the creek and areas of Los Gatos, Campbell and other areas downstream were seen as potentially hazardous.
In Napa County, rain gauging sites indicated water levels had hit the monitor state with flash flooding expected to begin shortly, the weather service said.
Locations expected to see flooding as the rain continues into the evening hours included Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, Yountville, Deer Park and Angwin.
In Sonoma County, flash flooding was occurring in Willow Brook and along other portions of the Petaluma River, as well as the lower Sonoma Creek watershed.
Petaluma, Sonoma, Boyes Hot Springs, Temelec and El Verano were some of the cities that will see flooding.
The flooding situation was exacerbated by king tides, so called when the earth, moon and sun are in an alignment causing a greater gravitational pull.
Forecasters said tides would be as high as seven feet and the threat would be the highest during the mid- and late-morning hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The flash flood warning was in effect until 10:30 a.m. PST Wednesday in Sonoma County, 8:00 p.m. PST in Napa County, 8:30 p.m. PST in Marin County, and 6:30 p.m. PST in Santa Clara County.
The weather service urged drivers to turn around when encountering flooded roads, noting that most flood deaths occur in vehicles.