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Atmospheric river to roll through Bay Area, bringing increasingly … – The Santa Rosa Press Democrat

The city of Santa Rosa’s sandbag filling station is open for residents throughout the rainy season. They can find sand and bags at the City Municipal Services Center North at 55 Stony Point Road, which will be open 24/7.
More information can be found at www.srcity.org/2963/Rain-Ready.
In unincorporated western Sonoma County, sand and sandbags will be available as of Dec. 30 at:
Monte Rio Fire Department: 9870 Main Street, Monte Rio
Forestville Fire Department: 6554 Mirabel Road, Forestville
The city of Sebastopol is also offering sandbags to its residents. Individuals may pick up sand and sandbags sunrise to sunset in the city parking area to the rear of the Sebastopol Youth Annex at 425 Morris St.
Friedman’s Home Improvement is offering 20 free sandbags and sand per household to those in need while supplies last. Friedman’s locations in Sonoma County are at:
4055 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa
1360 Broadway, Sonoma
429 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma
The heaviest wave yet of the continuing stormy weather is expected to roll in Friday afternoon, soaking the area with moderate to heavy rain through Saturday evening, according to the National Weather Service.
After that, another storm is expected to arrive Monday and stick around for about three to four days, said Brian Garcia, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Monterey office.
While it is too early to predict the totals for next week’s storm, Garcia said, the storm beginning Friday is expected to bring up to 6 inches to the wettest parts of Sonoma County, according to the National Weather Service. Santa Rosa and Napa could receive 3 to 4 inches.
The storm’s final and most intense wave of rain will begin drenching Sonoma County around 2 p.m. Friday and continue for about 12 to 18 hours before fading Saturday night.
In the middle of the final wave, an atmospheric river — long, flowing regions of the atmosphere that carry water vapor through the sky — will enter the region at sunrise Saturday, bringing warmer temperatures and more soaking rain until later in the afternoon, Garcia said.
Some areas will experience more intense rainfall than others, but the forecast is unclear as to where the heavier rains will drop.
A widespread light rain began early Wednesday evening and exited Sonoma County around 7 a.m. Thursday, bringing about ⅓ of an inch of rain to the area, Garcia said.
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The overnight rain caused few issues, including a downed tree in Guerneville. Sonoma County Fire District was dispatched around 9:20 a.m. to a report of a fallen tree in the 1400 block of McLane Avenue, said Karen Hancock, a community outreach specialist with the agency.
When firefighters arrived they saw a large oak tree had fallen onto three parked vehicles and downed power lines. The area around the tree was very saturated, Hancock said.
No one was injured.
About nine Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers in the area lost power around 10:30 a.m., said PG&E spokesperson Megan McFarland. PG&E personnel were on site about 10:50 a.m. and power was restored by 3 p.m. Thursday.
Rancho Adobe fire engineer Scott Campbell said the agency spent time Wednesday night and Thursday morning getting ready for Friday’s predicted heavy rain by reviewing where typical flooding happens, inflating a boat and pulling out their dry suits.
Widespread showers later Thursday afternoon broke the pause in the rain.
Psst….you awake? Here's a sneak peak at how much more rain could fall between Dec 29-31 to finish off the year. Could see 1-6" with highest totals along coast & over mountains. #rain #BayArea #cawx pic.twitter.com/w6bFwEyyO0
The weather service issued a flood watch Wednesday for the North Bay from Friday to Saturday evening.
Beginning 9 a.m. Friday, Sonoma County Fire District and Sonoma Public Infrastructure are offering self-fill sandbags at the district’s Station 7, 6554 Mirabel Road, in Forestville.
Garcia said the weather service will be watching over the next few days to determine whether to issue any flood advisories or warnings, especially around the Glass Fire burn scar area, which will be more susceptible to mudslides and debris flows.
In order for the areas around the burn scar to experience flash flooding, they would have to be hit by really intense rainfall, which could happen but Garcia does not see it as a high probability.
“We’ll kind of have to wait and see,” Garcia said. “It all depends on where that heaviest band sets up. If it sets up north of (Sonoma County) and drags south, then, we have the potential.”
Stronger winds will roll in with the moderate to heavier rainfall, Garcia said.
The coastal areas, including the western portion of Sonoma County’s coastal mountains, could see gusts of up to 40 mph starting Friday night. The interior valleys, including Santa Rosa, will see about 15 to 20 mph winds and the hills bordering Sonoma and Napa counties could see 25 to 35 mph gusts.
Garcia said these winds will range from about 5 to 15 mph less than the storm that hit Monday and Tuesday. However, since the ground is wetter, it is still possible for the winds to cause some damage.
“It’s not going to be long or sustained,” he said. “The issue is the soils are saturated. With the soils saturated it’ll be easier to topple trees with lighter wind gusts.”
You can reach Staff Writer Madison Smalstig at madison.smalstig@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @madi.smals.
The city of Santa Rosa’s sandbag filling station is open for residents throughout the rainy season. They can find sand and bags at the City Municipal Services Center North at 55 Stony Point Road, which will be open 24/7.
More information can be found at www.srcity.org/2963/Rain-Ready.
In unincorporated western Sonoma County, sand and sandbags will be available as of Dec. 30 at:
Monte Rio Fire Department: 9870 Main Street, Monte Rio
Forestville Fire Department: 6554 Mirabel Road, Forestville
The city of Sebastopol is also offering sandbags to its residents. Individuals may pick up sand and sandbags sunrise to sunset in the city parking area to the rear of the Sebastopol Youth Annex at 425 Morris St.
Friedman’s Home Improvement is offering 20 free sandbags and sand per household to those in need while supplies last. Friedman’s locations in Sonoma County are at:
4055 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa
1360 Broadway, Sonoma
429 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma
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