North Bay fire anniversary brings new concern about mudslides

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Crews spent Monday checking for possible mudslides in Santa Rosa and much of Sonoma County during heavy rain. (KGO-TV)

The strongest storm of the season is here and it's especially worrisome for people in the North Bay. Officials have been busy bracing for flooding and mudslides in the burn areas that were devastated by last year's wildfires.

People's belongings, left behind from October's fires, are now getting drenched with rain. There is still a lot of cleaning up to do in Santa Rosa. And now the city and the burned out areas will be tested by the season's biggest storm so far that's hitting on the three-month anniversary of the North Bay Fires.

FORECAST: Strong storm arrives in Bay Area

"Hillsides are our particular focus right now," said Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal.

VIDEO: North Bay officials brace for storm in fire zone
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The strongest storm of the season is here and it's especially worrisome for people in the North Bay. Officials have been busy bracing for flooding and mudslides in the burn areas that were devastated by last year's wildfires.



He says they're concerned about debris flow and soil slippage, especially on hillsides with steeper grades, and that they're particularly worried about the Fountaingrove area.

"That's a moderate risk," said Lowenthal.

WATCH LIVE: Track the rain with Live Doppler 7

Fire victims received a break with the delayed rainy season, enough to prep these regions. According to Lowenthal, this is their first big test.

City officials say they have worked hard to prepare for this moment and even had unexpected extra time to repair storm drains and address erosion issues.

RELATED: ABC7's Storm Impact Scale explained

This storm is expected to bring winds, which raise concerns that dead or dying trees that were burned in the fire could topple.

Officials also say timing could be an issue.

"One of concerns we have is that the storm is anticipated to hit this afternoon," said Lowenthal. "So it's going to be rush hour, it's going to be busy, there's the potential for a lot of cars on the street. So we're hoping people heed the caution and slow down, take the extra time they need."

City crews will be driving through the Santa Rosa neighborhoods to look for any issues. They're also asking resident to please report any problems they see during the storm.

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Click here for more stories about the North Bay wildfires.

Related Topics:
weatherflash floodingfloodingNorth Bay Firesrainwildfireaccuweatherforecaststormsonoma countySanta Rosa
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