Evacuation orders lifted for Sonoma County flood areas along Russian River

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- Sonoma County officials announced that evacuation orders have been lifted for flood areas along the Russian River.

Some Guerneville residents and business owners are seeing their property for the first time today since the Russian River climbed 14 feet above flood stage.

Scott Zeigler was one of them. Water was still blocking the front door of his business on River Road. He was shocked.

"We were expecting bad but a total loss? Probably wasn't expecting that," he said.

VIDEO: Difference in water levels along Russian River in Guerneville from start of flooding to the day after

The garage door of Zeigler Mechanic was pushed out from floating equipment inside. The forklift is ruined. Four jobs scheduled for this week will have to be postponed.

"We planned for 8 feet so everything went up 8 feet. Obviously, it went higher than that so everything we planned for didn't work out," said Zeigler.

Other businesses along River Road were also destroyed. The windows at Bonnie Sew Good were blown out. MD Auto Shop next door is also ruined. But Main Street in downtown looks ok.

"Another foot or foot and a half and we would've taken on water. But basically all of Main Street was untouched," said restaurant owner Crista Luedtke.

RELATED: A look back at Guerneville's 'Great Valentine's Day of Flood 1986'

She planned to open her restaurant, Boon, for lunch today. That is after she helped neighboring restaurant Big Bottom Market open for breakfast.

"The community wants to be fed and wants to be together. We have all been trapped in our houses for three or four days. It's really important to bring people together and feed them. That's what we are doing. It's about community," explained Luedtke.

In the neighborhood, you can see the water line reached the rooftops of SUVs. Most of the homes here though are ok because they are built up high since the area is known to flood. But homes with a lower unit experienced some damage. Like David Youngberg's house. He lost guest bedroom items like a sofa, TV, and bed.

"It's nasty. It's awful. It's dirt. You step on the carpet and dirt just spreads," Youngberg said.

But everyone here is physically ok and is already talking about rebuilding. And even hosting visitors while they clean up.

"It's devastating for a lot of people but at the same time we are a really strong community so I know in a matter of time we will all be back at it," said Luedtke.

"We are ok. We are safe. Everybody is starting to pitch in and clean up," said Youngberg.

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.