Russian River recedes after flooding parts of Guerneville

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Friday, December 12, 2014
Russian River begins to recede after flooding parts of Guerneville
Sonoma County officials say the Russian River crested Friday morning at 33 feet, one foot above flood stage, but by Friday evening it was finally starting to recede.

The severe storm that brought torrential rains and hurricane force winds on Thursday has subsided, dumping near record rain throughout Northern California.

San Francisco's downtown was soaked with nearly 3.5 inches of rain, the wettest December day in 19 years. San Jose got 3.9 inches of rain, the third wettest day in the city's history. And Whiskeytown, west of Redding, was drenched with nearly 12 inches of rain - the most in the entire state.

PHOTOS: Severe storm hits the Bay Area

In the North Bay, it's been an anxious 24 hours for people living near the Russian River. The river crested at flood stage Friday morning, cutting off roads and some homes.

Henry Hamlin is nervous about the Russian River creeping ever so close to his house. He spent the night frantically moving furniture in the basement to higher ground.

"I had no clue where the water would stop," Hamlin said. "Right now it's a foot from entering my basement."

Sonoma County officials say the river crested Friday morning at 33 feet, one foot above flood stage. That was enough put Neeley Road underwater, cutting off homes. Officials said they water is finally receding.

"For now they're stuck," Stevie Lindborg said. "One road in, one road out!"

Couple had moments to escape Russian River flooding

"For now they're stuck," Stevie Lindborg said. "One road in, one road out!"

A contractor rescued what tools he could from the house he's building, now, partially submerged.

Carrie Armstrong has seven feet of water in her backyard, but she's not worried.

"I raised the house raised last year, so it wouldn't flood," Armstrong said, "20 feet"

A pee-wee golf course became an obstacle course for kayaks.

PHOTO: The Pee Wee golf course in Guerneville.

The Pee Wee golf course in Guerneville.

Greg Hawkins and family came to see the flooded river. "You never know when it's going to flood on the Russian River," he said "It's been doing it for years."

There have been 10 major floods on the Russian River since 1937 and authorities say Friday's flood was not major or even moderate.

Union City residents had an unexpected wake up call early Friday morning. A giant tree crashed through the roof just inches from where they were sleeping.

A large eucalyptus fell onto a residential care facility on Trefry Court just before 4:30 a.m. It hit the main building and two bedrooms at the back of the facility. Two residents went to the hospital as a precaution.

Everyone else was taken to another care facility.

In Berkeley, a resident got a scare early Friday morning when a oak tree landed on his house.

Gerald Wiper was woken by a loud cracking noise. He heard something hit the house and ran for cover.

When he checked out the damage, the ceiling over the laundry room had collapsed.

Then he saw his neighbor's tree.

"If you walk outside it's actually along the whole side of the house," he said. It didn't fall completely thank goodness. When it fell over it actually hit the tree that's in my yard and that's what broke the fall of the tree.

The live oak is more than 100 years old. The owner says it was no match for the saturated ground.

A giant, gaping hole in a San Jose Safeway's roof is now two giant, gaping holes. Dozens of shoppers and workers were inside this Safeway on East Capitol Expressway yesterday when the store's ceiling came crashing down. One person suffered minor injuries and the store remains closed.

Fire officials were on scene Friday to check the damage when they found another part of the roof had collapsed.

VIDEO: Safeway roof collapse hole gets bigger

"It's still a dynamic situation, it is changing, pieces of this roof continue to come down...the fire department is not going inside today," San Jose fire department Capt. said Capt. Mat Low

The city's building inspector is now checking to see if the building is structurally sound.

The La Mar Mobile Home Park on Bayshore Road in Redwood City was underwater. There's several feet of standing water and growing concern

tonight about the rising tide and the additional problems that could cause.

VIDEO: Flood water prompts mobile home residents to evacuate

A power outage in San Francisco forced the closure of the Montgomery BART station for six hours. Riders had to get off either at Embarcadero or Powell Street station and walk in the rain. Flooding was the big problem at the San Bruno BART station, where clogged drains flooded the ticketing area. The station was closed for nearly two hours while crews mopped up the water.

There were major delays at the San Francisco International Airport. Some 240 flights were canceled and most of them were short flights along the west coast. Flight Aware said delays at SFO were averaging between 30 minutes to an hour.

At one point, Pacific Gas & Electric reported more than 276,000 customers were without power in the Bay Area. At least, 66,400 lost power in San Francisco. About 3,100 PG&E customers lost power in the East Bay, 1,100 in the Peninsula, 2,900 in the North Bay, and 2,800 in the South Bay.

POWER OUTAGE UPDATE: For the latest power outages throughout the Bay, click here.

Power outage causes Union Square shops to close

The governor's Office of Emergency Services activated the state's emergency operation center for the next few days to support cities and counties impacted by the storm.

Nearly a dozen state parks throughout the Bay Area remain closed because of the storm. Updates on park closures can be found at

AP and Bay City News has contributed to this report.