The Latest: 2nd California town isolated by floodwaters
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on winter storms slamming the western U.S. (all times local):
An official says a second Northern California community is isolated by floodwaters after a river broke its banks.
Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman tells KTVU-TV all the roads into the town of 1,000 people along the Russian River north of San Francisco are inundated.
Baxman said Wednesday that crews have been rescuing people from cars stuck in flood waters caused by a series of storms hitting states from California to Montana with rain and snow.
Forecasters say the Russian River in Sonoma County topped 32 feet (9.8 meters) Tuesday evening and it that it could crest at more than 46 feet (14 meters) by Wednesday night.
Baxman says the area won’t be in the clear until the river start going back down.
To the east Monte Rio, the small city of Guerneville is also only accessible by boat.
Officials in rural western Montana are prepared to rescue nearly 50 snowed-in residents if they need help.
But so far, KULR-TV reports that the 46 residents in Cascade County are managing and don’t need assistance.
Capt. Scott Van Dyken of the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office says the people who are stranded live in remote cabins accessible by private roads. Snow drifts as high as 6 feet (1.8 meters) in some areas are trapping people in their homes.
The sheriff’s office has contacted every family to make sure they have a way of calling for emergency help.
Montana residents are digging out from a series of snowstorms that have buried parts of the state this winter.
Officials say flood waters have inundated a California town north of San Francisco and that the community is now only accessible by boats after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks.
The Sonoma Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Wednesday that Guerneville is “officially an island” because all roads leading to it are covered by water.
Residents of the town with 4,500 people and two dozen other communities along the Russian River were ordered to evacuate.
The National Weather Service says the Russian River in Sonoma County topped 32 feet (9.8 meters) Tuesday evening and it that it could crest at more than 46 feet (14 meters) by Wednesday night.
The river has repeatedly flooded following heavy rains, but this marks the highest level that its waters have risen in more than two decades.
Several other Northern California creeks and rivers are expected to crest before the storm eases out of the region.
Heavy snow has prompted the closure of several mountain roads in the Sierra Nevada.
Thousands of people along a flooded river are under evacuation orders as a relentless storm pounds Northern California with heavy rain and snow.
The town of Guerneville and some two dozen other communities are at risk of flooding from the Russian River north of San Francisco, which hit flood stage Tuesday evening and was expected to peak Wednesday morning at more than 46 feet (14 meters). That’s the highest point in nearly a quarter-century.
No major problems have been reported yet but authorities worry about impassable roads and the chance of mudslides in areas scarred by wildfires.
Flood watches and warnings also remain up throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the Sierra Nevada, snow closed some 50 miles (15 meters) of Interstate 80 to the Nevada state line overnight.