Storm Monday to batter Sonoma County

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for a significant portion of the Bay Area as the region prepares for a storm to barrel through from Sunday evening through Tuesday morning, likely overflowing urban streams and flooding low-lying areas.The...

Storm Monday to batter Sonoma County

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for a significant portion of the Bay Area as the region prepares for a storm to barrel through from Sunday evening through Tuesday morning, likely overflowing urban streams and flooding low-lying areas.

The flood watch takes effect at 4 p.m. Sunday through early Tuesday morning.

The latest weather models show the coastal hills of Sonoma County getting as much as 6 inches of rain by Tuesday morning, with about 3 inches falling in Santa Rosa, said Bob Benjamin, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Rainfall is expected to be steady Sunday evening, with the first heavy rainfall in Sonoma County expected to begin early Monday morning, with a second punch coming Monday afternoon.

In Guerneville, the Russian River is projected to crest at 34.2 feet Tuesday afternoon. Flood stage there is 32 feet.

Sonoma County is also under a high wind warning and wind advisory, which will last from 1 p.m. Monday to 3 a.m. Tuesday, with 25- to 35-mph winds gusting up to 60 mph Monday afternoon.

“Those places that have had problems are going to have problems again,” Benjamin said.

The rain made for slick roads and may have played a role in a minivan flipping and crashing on Fountaingrove Parkway in Santa Rosa.

Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said the series of back-to-back storms in the past two months have caused the agency to be constantly prepared for the kind of flooding and damage this Presidents Day weekend storm could bring.

“We’re always ready,” he said. “We make sure all the trucks are full of fuel, that the saws are sharp. ... I’m just hoping it’s not as bad as they’re saying it’s going to be.”

It’s not yet clear exactly which part of the Bay Area will receive the brunt of the storm, with forecast models “waffling a little bit,” Benjamin said.

“Right now we’re putting our eggs in the basket that it’s probably going to be between Southern Marin County and Southern San Mateo County, maybe as far as Santa Cruz,” Benjamin said. “There’s plenty (of rain) to go around, though.”

You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 707-521-5205 or christi.warren@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @SeaWarren.

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