NAPA, Calif. (KGO) --The first in a series of storms has hit the Bay Area. Flooding is a big concern, especially in Napa where floodwaters drenched downtown the last time El Nino was around. But, improvements have been made since then.
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"Napa was used to being flooded," said resident Kathleen Cabrera.
She's remembering the New Year's Eve flood of 2005 when the Napa River crested at more than 30 feet and claimed much of the town in the process.
It was the 21st time the Napa River has flooded since 1862. Residents hoped it'd be the last, as they dealt with the usual problems.
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No 10 years later, Napa has reason to believe such a disaster will never happen again. And that's because of a recently completed flood control bypass right through the heart of town. It's built for the 100 year flood, part of an ongoing $600 million project.
"It will flow through this shortcut," said Napa Flood Control District engineer Phil Miller. "It'll be over our head in depth at that point when that happens."
Miller knows it well. He is the chief engineer for this network of bridges, river rerouting, and walls. Lot of walls.
"We still have $200 million to spend," he said.
Around Lincoln Avenue in particular, where the sometimes angry Napa River still knows no bounds, this area remains in jeopardy.
As for the rest, Miller says that at this point, downtown Napa will not flood.
In a community that has seen more than its share of trouble the past few years, that is the stuff of sleeping at night.
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