Dramatic helicopter rescue just part of Russian River flood struggles

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The rising waters of the Russian River prompted helicopter and National Guard rescues as problems continue after a severe Bay Area storm. (KGO-TV)

The Russian River is still at flood stage as of Wednesday night. It crested just after 6 p.m. and will remain at flood stage until Thursday. Guerneville residents are already making preparations to return to their homes.

That does not make the flood waters safe to travel. If you can't see the lines on the road, you shouldn't drive through.

RELATED: Major storm forces evacuations along Russian River

"It's projected to stay above flood stage overnight and recede to approximately 35 feet and then stay there for a while," said Greg Martin, Assistant Chief Sonoma County Fire.

The Russian River crested just short of 38 feet Wednesday evening, flooding River Road in Guerneville. People returning home from work got creative to stay dry. "We don't have any option right now," said one woman who tied trash bags around her legs to ward off water. "We have to do what we have to do."

Early Wednesday a team of National Guardsmen and paramedics made house calls using a high water vehicle. No serious injuries have been reported.

"We've had a handful of rescues," said Martin. "And that's largely people who just aren't adhering to the road closures."

Others proceeded with caution in their rain boots to restock supplies. "The other day I picked up a generator and a boat and a couple of other things," said Guerneville resident Ed Hendry. "I thought I might need some propane maybe in case the power went out."

The local Safeway lost shelves of stock because of a power outage.

The concern moving forward is landslides, because the ground is so saturated. If you see any earth or tree movement, call the county to have the area inspected.

PHOTOS: Homes, cars near Russian River flooded
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Related Topics:
weatherfloodingrainwindstormsevere weatherevacuationstorm damagewinter stormGuerneville
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