An evacuation order was put out on the afternoon of Tuesday 26 February, as local emergency services predicted the river to crest at 46.1 feet in Guerneville by Wednesday night.
The flooding started after 24 hours of consistently heavy rain that is being blamed on the so-called ‘Pineapple Express’ – a weather front moving in from Hawaii.
Experts were calling it some of the worst flooding in over two decades on Russian River.
The priority was on getting residents to safety and out of any potential flooding danger, and shelters have been set up in safer areas.
Around 3,600 residents have been evacuated, and roads and schools have been closed.
Sandhya Patel, a meteorologist for ABC7, predicts that the river should be below the flood stage by late Friday morning.
The Sonoma County emergency services are chasing the ‘flood waters down and assessing the conditions of roads and bridges,’ according to their website.
‘Once it is determined that it is safe for residents to return, county officials will begin to allow residents to re-enter flooded areas in the lower river area.’
In lower lying areas, vineyards did not escape the serious flooding.
‘Our hearts and minds continue to be with the community and residents who have been impacted by the rains,’ a spokesperson for Sonoma County Vintners told Decanter.com.
‘We are all grateful for the break [from the rain].’
‘However, vines themselves are dormant during the winter and are not affected by flooding.’
It will take until the water has cleared to assess the full extent of any damage.
Lower lying vineyeards near Healdsburg on Tuesday 26th February. Credit: Chris Mercer