SONOMA COUNTY (CBS / AP) – Northern California continues to struggle Thursday with clogged commutes, flooded roads and water-logged homes after several days of relentless rain that has lightened.
The Russian River in Sonoma County, which surged to its highest level in a decade, should recede to below flood levels by Friday as the weather system moves out.
Residents are using boats to traverse flooded streets and inside homes.
While the Russian River was starting to recede Thursday, there was still plenty of flooding in low-lying areas of Guerneville the day after the river crested almost six feet above flood level.
A walk through floodwaters was a like walk in the park for Dave Hale, who was finally freed from his upstairs apartment.
“I was feeling stir crazy, ya know? Trapped up there for several days,” said Hale.
The first thing he did was start helping the businesses downstairs from his apartment get back on their feet.
The Russian River crested Wednesday at 37.8 feet. Video taken by Sky Drone 5 showed how extensive the storm damage was around Guerneville a day later. There were downed trees at a mobile home park with a car crushed underneath them.
Further down River Road, vineyards soaking in several feet of river runoff. Kayakers were seen out where the water was still deep helping neighbors.
“Bringing groceries and water, because they’ve been stranded for three days,” said Guerneville resident Kayte Guglielmino. “In my house, we have to power wash what we didn’t move.”
You can see by the movement in the floodwater that the river runoff is receding.
By the end of the day today, it should be back down to flood level, 32 feet.
Locals like Darryl Bushgen swear, it could have been worse.
“The last time, it was up to there,” Bushgen said, gesturing with his hand. “10 feet inside. That’s when there was $2,000 gone.”
But everyone KPIX 5 spoke with agreed they are here to stay.
“It’s just part of living out here,” said Hale. “I wanted to live out here, I chose to live out here, I’m happy.”
The National Weather Service in Monterey said there will be light showers Thursday afternoon in the San Francisco Bay Area before the area dries out.
The weather service says Monterey County mountains saw more than 34 inches of rain since Jan. 2.
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