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‘Constant Nervousness': Russian River Residents Prepare for Expected Flooding

Residents along the Russian River in Sonoma County are gearing up for significant flooding as the next wave of storms rolls in.

As of Friday, the river was forecast to hit flood stage early Monday.

“I’m nervous for the fact that when I keep looking at the weather, it’s going to rain for the next 10 days without any breaks,” Monte Rio resident Noel Loranger said. “I’m concerned that it’s going to be a much higher flood than I’ve experienced here.”

The community is preparing for what could be the biggest flood event in four years.

“We’re in an evacuation warning zone right now,” Loranger said. “Trying to decide if I’ll have to go somewhere else, because I don’t want to get flooded in with my dogs.”

The river level has gone up significantly in the last few days. The parking lot at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville was completely submerged Friday.

“I’ve been here 30 years,” Debra Johnson said. “In ’95, I lost everything in a flood. In ’97, I lost everything in a flood. Then I moved to higher ground. It’s the price we pay for living in a beautiful area.”

Johnson, who owns and runs the Riverlane Resort along the water, knows precisely what to do and isn’t feeling panicked at all.

“We’re ready, we’re prepared,” she said. “It’s all about preparation around here. Once you get educated and things are marked, you kind of can totally have a plan. When it gets to this marker, we do this. When it gets to this marker, we do this. So, you don’t have to worry because you have the plan. It’s all about planning.”

Guerneville resident Mo McElroy has lived along the river for more than two decades. She, too, knows the drill.

“It’s scary,” she said. “It’s not scary like a fire, but it’s a constant nervousness that you have in your nervous system watching the water rise and refreshing your charts all the time.”

She was getting ready to move her boats to higher ground. Her backyard and her front yard may flood, but she plans to stay put.


Source: NBC Bay Area

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