How bad was the Russian River flooding? Guerneville residents get first look

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- They expected maybe a foot of water. They prepared for 4 feet of water. But what Lisa & Jason Flint found when they returned to their Guerneville restaurant, The Farmhand Deli, shocked them.

"It was more than I was expecting," said Lisa Flint, who found out that their restaurant had become part of the Russian River.

The banks of the river usually sits about 20 feet below and 150 feet away from deli's back deck.

But the flood waters nearly reached the ceiling of the small restaurant north of downtown Guerneville.

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

On Friday Sonoma County officials announced that evacuation orders have been lifted for flood areas along the Russian River.

But being allowed back into the flood zone just revealed the disastrous reality for residents of the sleepy North Bay towns and villages.

For Lisa & Jason, they found several inches of mud throughout their deli and in the parking lot.

For other residents, they found debris washed away from other flood victims.

"I was amazed by what it washed in and what I saw floating by," said Amy Mellott.

SKY7 VIDEO: Massive flooding in Guerneville leaves homes underwater

Furniture, fences with addresses on them, and even refrigerators were relocated by the rushing floodwaters.

Many residents did not have flood insurance because of the high cost.

Agnes Wong McNulty told ABC7 News that it would have cost her $8,000 a year to be insured.

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

We asked her if she would have bought that insurance now:

"Yes. In hindsight."

The Flints also did not have flood insurance, but they do have network of friends that rushed to their aid on Friday.

After several hours of hard work, they'd cleared out the mud from the parking lot and were on the road to recovery, a small consolation on a special day for Jason.

"It is my birthday today," he told us. He's 38 years old.

RELATED: Evacuation orders lifted for Sonoma County flood areas along Russian River

And he got a birthday surprise from Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick, who dropped off a half dozen pizzas to the Flints

"We figured these folks were working hard and they needed to get some food in them," said Sheriff Essick.

The Sheriff delivered pizzas to residents cleaning up all day as a way to help the spiritual recovery effort.

"I have so many friends out here who have lost property and lost homes and we just want to do everything we can to support them."
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