Santa Rosa flooding: Residents describe scary moments in neighborhood where 95 homes were evacuated

Luz Pena Image
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
North Bay residents describe evacuating flooded homes
It's been a long 24 hours for a Santa Rosa neighborhood, where flooding caused the evacuation of hundreds of residents.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- It's been a long 24 hours for a Santa Rosa neighborhood located in Tachevah Drive along the Lornadell Creek, where flooding caused the evacuation of hundreds of residents.

In disbelief, Mike Leavitt walked inside his home with water up to two feet high flooding his entire first floor. His belongings were outside his front door as water kept rushing in.

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Next door was Zackary Neumann, piling towels and blankets with his brother and sister-in-law against their sliding door. Their home is directly behind the Lornadell Creek, where four townhomes are located.

"We were running up and down and just throwing everything to try to keep that barrier up. We tried to grab thick towels, thick blankets and try as much as possible to reduce it," said Neumann.

As the creek overflowed in a matter of minutes they were surrounded by water.

"It was coming from both. It started in the backyard but then once it kind of surrounded the whole apartment building then it started zipping through the door more," said Neumann.

VIDEO: Biggest storm in years brings flooding to Bay Area

Here's a look at how the atmospheric river impacted cities across the Bay Area.

Zackary kept track of the Lornadell Creek from his second floor as his living room flooded. Today he stepped outside for the first time in 24 hours.

Luz Pena: "How fast was the water rushing into your home?"

Zackary Neumann: "It wasn't bad at first, but after probably 10 a.m. it was 10-20 minutes instantly filling up."

Across from Zackary's home, were Pablo and Teresa, who were caught off guard by the water coming through their front door.

Luz Pena: "How much time did you have to react?" (Cuanto tiempo tuvieron para reaccionar?)

Pablo Mergalejo: "15 minutes."

Firefighters helped residents lift their furniture with cans and glass containers.

Luz Pena: "You were trying to push the water out but you couldn't?"

Pablo Mergalejo: "Si, no podiamos. Era impossible." (Yes, but we couldn't. It was impossible)"

After 20 minutes of fighting the water rushing through his front door and backyard, the Mergalejo family had no other choice but to give up and evacuate.

Santa Rosa firefighters arrived on scene and evacuated residents from their flooded homes.

Luz Pena: "What happened here?"

Paul Lowenthal, Asst Fire Marshal/PIO: "On a bigger scale we knew they were expecting a significant amount of water to come off out of Glass Fire burn scar. We are fortunate that we didn't have a lot of land movement or mudslides, but we had a lot of water coming off the hill of the burn scar coming into the Santa Rosa creek and the small creeks rose very rapidly and had lots of water in it and those little small creeks, like Lornadell, had trouble flowing into the major creeks with all that water at once"

The four townhomes along the creek have been red tagged. These residents are staying with friends and family members.

A total of 95 homes were evacuated in the Tachevah Drive neighborhood.