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Northern California river floods 2,000 buildings

Published
A woman with a dog sails a kayak on a flooded street in Guerneville, north of San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California river flooded 2,000 homes, businesses and other buildings and left two communities virtual islands after days of stormy weather, officials said Wednesday.

The towns of Guerneville and Monte Rio were hardest hit by water pouring from the Russian River, which topped 46 feet (13 meters) late Wednesday night, said Briana Khan, a Sonoma County spokeswoman.

The river frequently floods in rainy weather but it hadn't reached that level for 25 years and wasn't expected to recede again until late Thursday night.

About 3,500 people in two dozen communities along the river remained under evacuation orders.

Jeff Bridges didn't leave even though he said the water was 8 feet (2.44 meters) deep in some places. The co-owner of the R3 Hotel in Guerneville, said he and others who stayed behind were well-prepared to ride out the storm. He and employees moved computers, business records and furniture to second-floor room.

"As long as everybody is safe, dry and warm, it's all fine. You just ride it out," said Bridges, noting that this flood was the fourth he's experienced in 33 years.

He added: "People in Florida have hurricanes, people in Maine have blizzards; we have floods," he said. "It's the price we have to pay to live in paradise."

The river was one of several in Northern California that was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms that also dumped heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada, throughout the Pacific Northwest and into Montana, where Gov. Steve Bullock signed an emergency order to help keep up the supply of heating fuel amid frigid temperatures.

Two Amtrak trains together carrying nearly 300 passengers stopped and reversed directions because of an avalanche that closed railroad tracks in the Sierra Nevada.

In Idaho, the mountain town of Stanley became marooned Wednesday after all three highways leading to the town were closed because of drifting snow, avalanches and the risk of more slides.

Several areas in California set record-high rainfall totals in recent days, including nearby Santa Rosa, which had nearly 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain in one day. The often-waterlogged Venado weather station 5 miles (8 kilometers) from Guerneville recorded more than 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain in 48 hours.

Elsewhere in Northern California, dozens of people had to be rescued from cars stranded while motorists tried to drive through flooded roads. Nina Sheehan, who is visiting from North Carolina, had to abandon her rental SUV after it got stuck in a flooded hotel parking lot.

"We made a decision to take the rental car through the waist-high water and we got two thirds of the way and then the car stalled," she said. "Do not try to go through any water over a foot high because you never know what you're going to find."

Firefighters in Monte Rio worked through the night pulling people out of cars stuck in flooded roadways and getting people out of their homes as water approached, Fire Chief Steve Baxman told the Press-Democrat newspaper of Santa Rosa.

"We took 17 people out of cars and houses during the night. Too many people are driving into water," he said.

___

Rodriguez reported from San Francisco.

A No Parking sign is almost completely submerged in flood waters from the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Anna Gaffney is pulled to shore by Jason Clopton of the Russian River Fire District swift water rescue team in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Gaffney and a friend were trying to get belongings when they were pulled precariously into the Russian River current. In the background is Mark Haas, also with the department. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
A CHP helicopter uses Main Street in Guerneville, Calif. as a landing pad as water continues to rise, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Two Northern California communities are accessible only by boat after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks following a relentless downpour. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says Guerneville,
Pacific Gas & Electric workers and a canoe are seen on a street flooded by the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Scott Heemstra takes Veronica Burdette out of the flood zone as floodwaters rise along Mill Street in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Two Northern California communities are accessible only by boat after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks following a relentless downpour. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says Guerneville,
The top of a pickup truck is seen in flood waters from the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Amanda Hamner looks out at flood waters from the Russian River surrounding her home in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
People gather on a partially submerged RV in the flood waters of the Russian River in Forestville, north of San Francisco, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The rain that swamped the area came from a storm system that also dumped heavy snow in the mountains of California and Nevada and in Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
An American flag hangs from the front of a home submerged in the flood waters of the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Jennifer Stewart, left, and Amy Holland dig their snow out of a snow bank after swerving to avoid a four-wheeler plowing snow on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in an alley in Moscow, Idaho. The car was pulled out of the snow bank by a truck that plowing a nearby parking lot. (Geoff Crimmins/Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP)
Shanna Allen, knocks the glove and sled out of the hands of her son Hollis, 6 while riding down the hill with her daughter Summer Allen, 8, and Kaiza Anglin, 7 at Timber-Linn Memorial Park in Albany, Ore., Wednesday Feb. 28, 2019. Several inches of snow blanked the mid-Willamette Valley Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. (Mark Ylen/Albany Democrat-Herald via AP)
This photo provided by the California Highway Patrol Truckee Division shows a patrol vehicle navigating a stretch of Interstate 80 in the Donner Pass area of the Sierra Nevada, just west of Truckee, Calif., that remained closed Wednesday morning, Feb. 27, 2019. An avalanche has prompted Amtrak officials to suspend passenger rail service between Sacramento and Reno, Nevada after more than more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow fell in the Sierra Nevada. Officials also shut down a 70-mile (112-kilometers) stretch of Interstate 80 from Reno to Colfax, California. (California Highway Patrol via AP)
Jonathan Von Renner Jr., and a friend row past Mill and Third Street in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.  Officials say flood waters have inundated the California town north of San Francisco and that the community is now only accessible by boats after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
This photo provided by the California Highway Patrol Truckee Division shows only the peaked roof of a structure visible, buried in snowdrifts in the Donner Pass area of the Sierra Nevada just west of Truckee, Calif., that remained closed Wednesday morning, Feb. 27, 2019. The California Department of Transportation reported that a Sierra maintenance yard above 6,000 feet had received 30 inches of snow on Tuesday. Several mountain and foothill roads were repeatedly closed because of whiteout conditions or to clear trucks and cars that spun out on the slippery pavement. The fierce weather was driven by a river of atmospheric moisture stretching from Hawaii. (California Highway Patrol via AP)
Chase Tyrie, 4, splashes in flood waters of the overflowed Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms.  (AP Photo/Michael Short)
People gather on a partially submerged RV in the flood waters of the Russian River in Forestville, north of San Francisco, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The rain that swamped the area came from a storm system that also dumped heavy snow in the mountains of California and Nevada and in Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
People gather on a partially submerged RV in the flood waters of the Russian River in Forestville, north of San Francisco, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The rain that swamped the area came from a storm system that also dumped heavy snow in the mountains of California and Nevada and in Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Jonathan Von Renner greets Jesse James at the Sycamore Court Apartments in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The night before, James moved to higher ground, only to find the water rose to cover the floor of the apartment. James was taken to dry land by the Russian River Fire swift water rescue team. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Jonathan Von Renner greets Jesse James at the Sycamore Court Apartments in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The night before, James moved to higher ground, only to find the water rose to cover the floor of the apartment. James was taken to dry land by the Russian River Fire swift water rescue team. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Sycamore Court resident Jesse Hagan evacuates to higher ground in the apartment complex in lower Guerneville, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. The town of Guerneville and some two dozen other communities are at risk of flooding from the Russian River north of San Francisco, which hit flood stage Tuesday evening and was expected to peak Wednesday morning at more than 46 feet - the highest point in nearly a quarter-century. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Sycamore Court resident Jesse Hagan evacuates to higher ground in the apartment complex in lower Guerneville, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. The town of Guerneville and some two dozen other communities are at risk of flooding from the Russian River north of San Francisco, which hit flood stage Tuesday evening and was expected to peak Wednesday morning at more than 46 feet - the highest point in nearly a quarter-century. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
This photo provided by the California Highway Patrol Truckee Division shows only the peaked roof of a structure visible, buried in snowdrifts in the Donner Pass area of the Sierra Nevada just west of Truckee, Calif., that remained closed Wednesday morning, Feb. 27, 2019. The California Department of Transportation reported that a Sierra maintenance yard above 6,000 feet had received 30 inches of snow on Tuesday. Several mountain and foothill roads were repeatedly closed because of whiteout conditions or to clear trucks and cars that spun out on the slippery pavement. The fierce weather was driven by a river of atmospheric moisture stretching from Hawaii. (California Highway Patrol via AP)
This photo provided by the California Highway Patrol Truckee Division shows only the peaked roof of a structure visible, buried in snowdrifts in the Donner Pass area of the Sierra Nevada just west of Truckee, Calif., that remained closed Wednesday morning, Feb. 27, 2019. The California Department of Transportation reported that a Sierra maintenance yard above 6,000 feet had received 30 inches of snow on Tuesday. Several mountain and foothill roads were repeatedly closed because of whiteout conditions or to clear trucks and cars that spun out on the slippery pavement. The fierce weather was driven by a river of atmospheric moisture stretching from Hawaii. (California Highway Patrol via AP)
Scott Heemstra takes Veronica Burdette out of the flood zone as floodwaters rise along Mill Street in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Two Northern California communities are accessible only by boat after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks following a relentless downpour. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says Guerneville,
Scott Heemstra takes Veronica Burdette out of the flood zone as floodwaters rise along Mill Street in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Two Northern California communities are accessible only by boat after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks following a relentless downpour. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says Guerneville, "is officially an island" and another nearby town was also isolated by floodwaters. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
A CHP helicopter uses Main Street in Guerneville, Calif. as a landing pad as water continues to rise, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Two Northern California communities are accessible only by boat after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks following a relentless downpour. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says Guerneville,
A CHP helicopter uses Main Street in Guerneville, Calif. as a landing pad as water continues to rise, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Two Northern California communities are accessible only by boat after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks following a relentless downpour. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says Guerneville, "is officially an island" and another nearby town was also isolated by floodwaters. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Amanda Hamner looks out at flood waters from the Russian River surrounding her home in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Amanda Hamner looks out at flood waters from the Russian River surrounding her home in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Tim Russell of Guerneville attempts to pull a motorist from Armstrong Woods Road after it became inundated in Guerneville, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, but Russell became stuck himself. The town of Guerneville and some two dozen other communities are at risk of flooding from the Russian River north of San Francisco, which hit flood stage Tuesday evening and was expected to peak Wednesday morning at more than 46 feet - the highest point in nearly a quarter-century. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Tim Russell of Guerneville attempts to pull a motorist from Armstrong Woods Road after it became inundated in Guerneville, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, but Russell became stuck himself. The town of Guerneville and some two dozen other communities are at risk of flooding from the Russian River north of San Francisco, which hit flood stage Tuesday evening and was expected to peak Wednesday morning at more than 46 feet - the highest point in nearly a quarter-century. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
A No Parking sign is almost completely submerged in flood waters from the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
A No Parking sign is almost completely submerged in flood waters from the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Pacific Gas & Electric workers and a canoe are seen on a street flooded by the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Pacific Gas & Electric workers and a canoe are seen on a street flooded by the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Residents of Armstrong Woods Road evacuate as the water rises north of Guerneville, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. The town of Guerneville and some two dozen other communities are at risk of flooding from the Russian River north of San Francisco, which hit flood stage Tuesday evening and was expected to peak Wednesday morning at more than 46 feet - the highest point in nearly a quarter-century. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Residents of Armstrong Woods Road evacuate as the water rises north of Guerneville, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. The town of Guerneville and some two dozen other communities are at risk of flooding from the Russian River north of San Francisco, which hit flood stage Tuesday evening and was expected to peak Wednesday morning at more than 46 feet - the highest point in nearly a quarter-century. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Anna Gaffney is pulled to shore by Jason Clopton of the Russian River Fire District swift water rescue team in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Gaffney and a friend were trying to get belongings when they were pulled precariously into the Russian River current. In the background is Mark Haas, also with the department. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Anna Gaffney is pulled to shore by Jason Clopton of the Russian River Fire District swift water rescue team in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Gaffney and a friend were trying to get belongings when they were pulled precariously into the Russian River current. In the background is Mark Haas, also with the department. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
A woman with a dog sails a kayak on a flooded street in Guerneville, north of San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
A woman with a dog sails a kayak on a flooded street in Guerneville, north of San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
This photo provided by the California Highway Patrol Truckee Division shows a patrol vehicle navigating a stretch of Interstate 80 in the Donner Pass area of the Sierra Nevada, just west of Truckee, Calif., that remained closed Wednesday morning, Feb. 27, 2019. An avalanche has prompted Amtrak officials to suspend passenger rail service between Sacramento and Reno, Nevada after more than more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow fell in the Sierra Nevada. Officials also shut down a 70-mile (112-kilometers) stretch of Interstate 80 from Reno to Colfax, California. (California Highway Patrol via AP)
This photo provided by the California Highway Patrol Truckee Division shows a patrol vehicle navigating a stretch of Interstate 80 in the Donner Pass area of the Sierra Nevada, just west of Truckee, Calif., that remained closed Wednesday morning, Feb. 27, 2019. An avalanche has prompted Amtrak officials to suspend passenger rail service between Sacramento and Reno, Nevada after more than more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow fell in the Sierra Nevada. Officials also shut down a 70-mile (112-kilometers) stretch of Interstate 80 from Reno to Colfax, California. (California Highway Patrol via AP)
Jennifer Stewart, left, and Amy Holland dig their snow out of a snow bank after swerving to avoid a four-wheeler plowing snow on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in an alley in Moscow, Idaho. The car was pulled out of the snow bank by a truck that plowing a nearby parking lot. (Geoff Crimmins/Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP)
Jennifer Stewart, left, and Amy Holland dig their snow out of a snow bank after swerving to avoid a four-wheeler plowing snow on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in an alley in Moscow, Idaho. The car was pulled out of the snow bank by a truck that plowing a nearby parking lot. (Geoff Crimmins/Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP)
Shanna Allen, knocks the glove and sled out of the hands of her son Hollis, 6 while riding down the hill with her daughter Summer Allen, 8, and Kaiza Anglin, 7 at Timber-Linn Memorial Park in Albany, Ore., Wednesday Feb. 28, 2019. Several inches of snow blanked the mid-Willamette Valley Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. (Mark Ylen/Albany Democrat-Herald via AP)
Shanna Allen, knocks the glove and sled out of the hands of her son Hollis, 6 while riding down the hill with her daughter Summer Allen, 8, and Kaiza Anglin, 7 at Timber-Linn Memorial Park in Albany, Ore., Wednesday Feb. 28, 2019. Several inches of snow blanked the mid-Willamette Valley Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. (Mark Ylen/Albany Democrat-Herald via AP)
Residents along Armstrong Woods Road head back to their home after the road became impassable to most vehicles, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 in Guerneville, Calif. Thousands of people along a flooded river were under evacuation orders Wednesday as a relentless storm pounded Northern California, drenching the San Francisco Bay Area and pummeling the Sierra Nevada with snow. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Residents along Armstrong Woods Road head back to their home after the road became impassable to most vehicles, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 in Guerneville, Calif. Thousands of people along a flooded river were under evacuation orders Wednesday as a relentless storm pounded Northern California, drenching the San Francisco Bay Area and pummeling the Sierra Nevada with snow. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
The top of a pickup truck is seen in flood waters from the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
The top of a pickup truck is seen in flood waters from the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
An American flag hangs from the front of a home submerged in the flood waters of the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
An American flag hangs from the front of a home submerged in the flood waters of the Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Ryan Lance, front, and Anthony Nash of the Russian River Fire Protection District swift water rescue team rescue residents of Sycamore Court Apartment Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in lower Guerneville, Calif. Officials say flood waters have inundated the California town north of San Francisco and that the community is now only accessible by boats after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Ryan Lance, front, and Anthony Nash of the Russian River Fire Protection District swift water rescue team rescue residents of Sycamore Court Apartment Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in lower Guerneville, Calif. Officials say flood waters have inundated the California town north of San Francisco and that the community is now only accessible by boats after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Jonathan Von Renner Jr., and a friend row past Mill and Third Street in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.  Officials say flood waters have inundated the California town north of San Francisco and that the community is now only accessible by boats after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Jonathan Von Renner Jr., and a friend row past Mill and Third Street in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Officials say flood waters have inundated the California town north of San Francisco and that the community is now only accessible by boats after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)
Chase Tyrie, 4, splashes in flood waters of the overflowed Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms.  (AP Photo/Michael Short)
Chase Tyrie, 4, splashes in flood waters of the overflowed Russian River in Forestville, Calif., on Wednesday Feb. 27, 2019. The still rising Russian River was engorged by days of rain from western U.S. storms. (AP Photo/Michael Short)