Flood victims forced to move into shelters after mandatory evacuations issued

ByJobina Fortson KGO logo
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Russian River flooding forces some resident to move into emergency shelters
Flood waters have forced many residents to move into emergency shelters as the Russian River overflows into the streets.

SEBASTOPOL, Calif. (KGO) -- More than 20 areas still under a mandatory evacuation near Guerneville.

An ABC7 News crew tried to get to the Graton Fire Department where flood evacuees were being shuttled to shelters on Wednesday. However, the crew ended up running into flood water themselves in Sebastopol.

RELATED: Massive flooding in Guerneville, surrounding communities

"This is always flooded in the winter, but nothing like this," Tracy Warner, a Sebastopol resident said. "I mean look at that mailbox."

The mailbox and street sign in front of Warner was almost completely covered by flood water. She traveled down to Hall Road to get to a farm. Her horse was being boarded inside.

"I figured I wouldn't be able to drive into the driveway, but I had no idea it would be up to the barn," Warner said.

The images out of Guerneville are startling, but evacuees are coming from other areas too.

"I've been homeless until about a week ago," Cindi Vickery, an evacuee from Sebastopol said. "We just moved into this trailer that we got evacuated out of."

Vickery, like Malcolm Andrews, lives near the Laguna Wetlands Preserve.

"Just instantly get out," Andrews said. "You now walk out in waist deep water. It's kind of horrific."

RELATED: Russian River could reach historic flood levels in Guerneville

All Andrews has now is the clothing on his back and the memories of his trailer.

"Well it was two feet deep," Andrews said. "So it's history. I'm out of there. I got to figure out what I can do you know. Sometimes one door closes and another one is opened."

Volunteers are trying to channel Andrews' same positivity.

"You know it's not like staying in a luxury hotel, but we do try to take very good care of people," Barbara Wood, a Red Cross volunteer said.

Evacuation shelters have places for pets, beds, food, and even clothing. They won't turn anyone away.

Sonoma County Animal Services has a mobile van set up outside of an evacuation center at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. They will stay in that location until the Red Cross leaves.

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