Atmospheric River Continues to Saturate Waterlogged Bay Area

Swollen rivers in the North Bay are expected to surge above flood stage Tuesday night

What to Know

  • Residents living near the Russian River in Sonoma County have been advised to evacuate immediately
  • A flood warning is in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday for Sonoma County
  • A wind advisory is in effect until 3 a.m. Wednesday for the coast and the Bay Area's hills

An atmospheric river storm tapping into moisture from the tropics continued to pound much of the Bay Area with rain Tuesday, triggering flooding across a region already saturated by previous winter deluges.

The multi-day storm has prompted a flood warning in Sonoma County, a flood advisory across the entire North Bay, and a wind advisory in the Bay Area's hills and along the coast, according to the National Weather Service. The slow-moving system has also forced Sonoma County officials to issue an evacuation warning for people living near the swelling Russian River.

While the atmospheric river continues to unload on the North Bay, it has relatively avoided the South Bay and parts of the central Bay Area. That's expected to change Tuesday afternoon and night when the storm shifts to the south and dumps heavier rain on neighborhoods in those areas, according to the weather service.

In the waterlogged North Bay, which has been pelted with rain since Monday morning, a flood advisory was in effect through Tuesday afternoon, according to the weather service. Sonoma County, specifically, is under a flood warning through the evening. Constant rainfall is causing waterways to continue to rise, worsening conditions in areas already inundated with water.

Meanwhile, flood warnings are scheduled to kick in Tuesday evening for areas located along the Napa River near St. Helena and Napa in addition to spots located along the Russian River near Guerneville, the weather service stated. Both swelling rivers are predicted to surge above flood stage by late Tuesday evening.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sonoma County officials sent out a message advising people living near the Russian River to evacuate right away. The evacuation later in the afternoon became a mandatory order.

Flood Photos: Water Overtakes Roadways, Homes in North Bay

The Bohemian Highway at 2:20 p.m. was closed just outside of Monte Rio due to a landslide, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. No injuries were reported in the landslide.

Meanwhile, the Russian River was forecasted to crest at 45.9 feet at 10 p.m. Wednesday, which would be the highest since January 2017. At that level, much of downtown Guerneville is expected to flood.

Sonoma County Flood Map

Sonoma County officials recommended evacuating areas near the Russian River before expected flooding at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Source: ESRI

Floodwaters completely covered a stretch of Slusser Road along Mark West Creek in Sonoma County Tuesday morning. The driver of an SUV was spotted trying to plow through the flooded roadway before popping the vehicle into reverse and backing up from the flowing torrent of water.

Nearby, a crew rescued a person from a car that became stuck in about 3 to 4 feet of water along Todd Road, according to Battalion Chief Darrin DeCarli with the Gold Ridge Fire Protection District.

"If you see water across the road, please turn around and head back the other way," DeCarli said.

An atmospheric river storm tapping into moisture from the tropics continued to pound much of the Bay Area with rain Tuesday morning, raising flooding concerns across a region already saturated by previous winter deluges. Kari Hall, Bob Redell and Pete Suratos report.

Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, the weather service released 48-hour rainfall totals showcasing the stark difference between the storm's impact in the North Bay versus the rest of the Bay Area.

Venado, a small community in Sonoma County, collected a whopping 10.40 inches of rain during the 48-hour period, according to the weather service. Woodacre in Marin County received 7.18 inches. On the opposite end of the spectrum, San Francisco only measured 0.40 inches. Livermore barely picked up anything, recording 0.02 inches.

While downpours saturate the Bay Area, high winds continue to batter certain spots. A wind advisory is in effect through 3 a.m. Wednesday for higher elevations across the Bay Area and the coast. 

The weather service reported Tuesday morning that some recorded storm gusts have reached nearly 70 mph. 

Gusty winds could cause problems for power lines, leading to scattered power outages for some, the weather service warned.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The National Weather Service constantly updates weather alerts thoughout the day. The weather service also changes the timing of those alerts based on the conditions. 

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