GUERNEVILLE (CBS SF) – Even as the Bay Area finally got a break Friday from the string of storms passing through the region, the recent rain made the Russian River crest for the second time this week.
As of about noon Friday, the river was still rising. The river will crest almost 2 ½ feet above flood stage Friday afternoon, rising to 34.4 feet around 1 p.m. The river is expected to remain at or above flood level until 11 p.m.
Projections earlier Friday that estimated the river would get as high as 36 feet were revised as the day wore on.
Along the banks of the Russian River and the adjoining Fife Creek, residents of Guerneville were once again preparing to be flooded.
“With the level of the water, obviously an ambulance isn’t going to get through,” said U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. Julio Rodriguez.
Which is why the National Guard is on standby to help anyone who might get trapped in their home when the river level peaks. Their armored vehicle can navigate through water more than four feet deep, more conveniently than a boat.
“The expedient manner in how we get to the neighborhood, get in and get out without too much set-up,” said Rodriguez.
Still, some residents in low-lying areas were back to using boats Friday as a means of street transportation.
But the water has been higher in recent weeks. On January 11th, the river crested at almost 38 feet.
“It was way worse,” said Guerneville resident Ben Blanchard.
Some of the locals fear scenes like this are scaring tourists away.
A sign posted at the entrance of a realtor’s office that read, “Don’t panic – It isn’t going to flood this high.”
Jesse Hughes, who works at the Coffee Bizarre said coping with flooding in Guerneville is a way of life.
“The water has not reached most of the businesses. Main Street is still fully open,” said Hughes. “Mainly what it affects is the people that actually work within this community, some of us have trouble getting in and out of town. But other than that, it really isn’t that much of an issue.”