Mudslides are concern in North Bay fire zone during storm

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- It's been said that if you don't like the weather, wait a minute. It will change.

In the North Bay, change may take longer with an atmospheric river rising.

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"Does this feel like an atmospheric river?" I asked Glen Cooper as he faced down a watery gauntlet on Valley Ford Road west of Petaluma.

"Sure feels like it," he said. And, that comment came from a man behind the wheel of a pick-up truck with a 9-inch raise. He splashed ahead and made it through -- a success story for this day.

Back on Highway 101 in Petaluma, Jose Vallejo felt differently. "I'm still shaking. Nervous," said Vallejo, while sitting in the relative warmth of a CHP car after spinning out in his truck. Jose never saw this coming until it was over. "I didn't think it would stop. It was eternity in a quick second."

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And all from an early spring storm with enough punch to ruin weekends.

Where creeks trickled Thursday, they roared Friday. With every hour, soil saturation becomes an increasing concern, particularly in the burned areas of the firestorm zone.

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To that end, the Sonoma County Water Agency installed a dozen new gauges in local creeks and streams. Had heavy rains come earlier, it might have been worse, said agency General Manager Grant Davis. "Our worry was debris coming out of creeks, blocking them, taking out businesses or homes. We need to do a better job of calculating when and where that might happen."

Davis is asking for more money and a more precise network of Doppler radars. "I'm saying we need to be increasingly capable of managing to extremes."

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