By John Ramos

SONOMA (KPIX) — The intersection of Hwy 121 and Hwy 12 in Sonoma County floods so often that locals tend to look at the “road closed” signs as more of a suggestion than a hard and fast rule.

When Sonoma Creek is this swollen it turns the vineyards next to it into bathtubs.

At the Larson Family Winery, the grapevines should be fine — not much affects them when they’re dormant. But there will be work to do — cleaning up and repairing washed out roads to the tune of about $20,000 for each flooding.

“There’s nothing we can do to stop the water. You can’t pour cement all over the valley. The water’s gotta go somewhere and this is where it ends up in southern Sonoma,” said owner Tom Larson.

Perhaps no one is more directly affected when this intersection floods than Matt Nagan, who owns the Schellville Grill which sits about 300 yards past the road-closed signs.

“I’ve seen a lot of water. This year tops ’em all,” Nagan says.

Normally on a Sunday his place would be packed but, since no one can get here, the tables are empty and the stove is cold. So far this January, he has only been open four days.

“Sometimes you get used to it. Sometimes, like this year, you get a little sour. The Italians say ‘Dolceamaro,’ it’s bittersweet, you know? But you just gotta deal with it,” Nagan said.

Part of “dealing with it” is knowing that next time it rains this will happen all over again.

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