North Bay preparations underway ahead of 'Atmospheric River'

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- There is good news about the Atmospheric River approaching the Bay Area, which will bring drenching rain for days.

Inside the Marin County Civic Center, they're hoping this will be the last storm requiring buckets in the venerable building's hallways. They blame a leaky roof atop the 56-year-old historical landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is bright blue, ornamented, and problematic during storms, particularly in areas beneath the skylights.

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Just in time for the year's heaviest rains, a $17.5 million renovation of the 220,00 square-foot roof was in place and work crews spent Thursday putting tarps on areas they had already opened. "It's not a concern," said Patrick Zuroske, who runs facilities planning for Marin County. "We knew the rains were possible and we're ready for them."

Translated -- the roof will not leak any worse than usual as the Atmospheric River arrives.
When it does, however, expect our heaviest rainfall of the year, with Sonoma County anticipating as many as six inches in the next three days.

After an official storm watch notice from the National Weather Service, the Santa Rosa Fire Department has responded by putting emergency crews on notice.

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The Sonoma County Water Agency has installed 12 new gauges to measure stream flow runoff and precipitation. "We cannot prevent flooding, but at least we can warn people if it becomes imminent," said Patrick Lei as ABC7 News checked one of those gauges on Mark West Springs Creek. "The burned areas could pose a problem."

Where homes already burned in Fountaingrove, work crews raced the clouds, pouring a concrete foundation for one house and framing up the first rebuild at 800 Santerra Court. "We'll have the roof up soon," said Jason Frisbee, who barely paused while measuring the building. "An Atmospheric River won't be stopping us for more than a day."

Click here for a look at more stories and videos about the North Bay fires.

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