Storm recovery center opens Sonoma Co. while severe flooding keeps Hwy 37 closed

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, January 16, 2023
Storm recovery center opens Sonoma Co., flooding keeps Hwy 37 closed
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In Sonoma County, a new assistance center opened in Guerneville focusing on equitable recovery for those impacted by January storms.

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- In North Bay, a major highway was closed in both directions Sunday due to flooding. A stretch of Highway 37 in Marin County could be remain closed overnight.

"It's just too much rain, too much water coming down all at once," said Caltrans spokesperson, Jeff Weiss.

Weiss says six water pumps are working to reduce flooding on a two-mile stretch of Highway 37 in Novato. The road has been closed to traffic since Saturday afternoon. Runoff from nearby Novato Creek is making the job tough.

"We're out there pumping the water, but it's difficult to get ahead of the game, because there's still so much water coming down and tides are high," Weiss said.

MORE: Saturday storm delivers rain, mudslides and power outages to North Bay

A nearby Frontage Road and the SMART train tracks are also underwater.

Caltrans says it repaired and elevated a stretch of Highway 37 in 2019 after a levee breach put the highway underwater, but recent storms were no match.

"Unless you do a major project, bring in a lot of dirt or elevate a bridge we're still going to get a lot of flooding from these big storms," said Weiss.

In Sonoma County, a new assistance center opened in Guerneville focusing on equitable recovery for those impacted by January storms.

MORE: Nearly 20 residents displaced after mudslide hits Fairfax apartment building

"We're giving out food supplies and stuff to clean your house with, like Pine-Sol, stuff like that," said Donna Walls.

There's emergency financial assistance for those who qualify. Many say they have lost days of work because of the storms. Flooded roads make it difficult and dangerous to travel. County officials say they're not waiting for FEMA. They want to get local funds into the hands of those who need it most.

"I can tell you we have heard from dozens of people who are very concerned about being able to pay rent or pay their electric bill because of the financial impacts of the storm," said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins.

The recovery center in Guerneville and another located in Healdsburg will be open through Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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