YOUNTVILLE (KPIX 5) — The Napa Valley is receiving its usual round of inconveniences in the form of flooded roadways that cross the Napa River.
Flooded roadways have happened during every heavy rainstorm this season, but more frequent rainfall means recovery time is only getting worse, as the water has nowhere left to go.
Drivers passing by the Conn Dam in St. Helena look as though they’re navigating a hurricane.
Great gusts of water rush over the roadway whenever there’s a major storm. It’s a spectacle, by design, in fact before Napa built this dissipater, drivers couldn’t pass by here.
Steve Stangland with Napa County Roads said, “The water would come down the spillway shooting straight out and damage the road, so the energy dissipater was built to take away that energy and preserve the road.”
Stangland said, “Its’ not receding as fast we were hoping to have things opened up this evening now it’s not looking like it.”
Most roadways near the river are underwater.
Over on Redwood Road, the main artery in and out of the area, is blocked by nearly 5,000 cubic feet of debris, mud, and rocks from an overnight slide in Napa.
Chris Bell and his neighbors are being forced to hike through the woods to get home.
“This is the first slide I’ve seen in ten years of living here,” Bell said.
“It’s a little intimidating because our house would have been right at the foot like this house here just about a hundred yards up the road,” Bell said.
Stangland says this is the largest slide he’s seen in his 21-year career.
“To say it’s a massive slide would be an understatement,” he said.
He doesn’t anticipate reopening Rewood Road for a full week, and this is hardly the only Napa County roadway in trouble.
Trees are toppling over with ease, including one blocking Silverado Trail.
“That’s a very big deal to us. That’s our major artery going up and down the valley,” Stangland said.
He says if it rains again this story will repeat itself.
“We’ll see more flooding, more roads damaged, more slide outs, definitely more trees down because with the saturated soil there isn’t much holdng them in place. You get a little bit of wind and they topple over,” Stangland said.
As for where this round of storms ranks, it depends on who you ask.
Martin Cazares said, “I’ve lived here many years. I’ve never seen it like this.”
Jan Smith said, “Nah this is nothing. I’ve seen a lot worse.”