North Bay warnings about possible flooding, outages

Napa County's emergency operations staff sent a warning to residents that starting on Wednesday, the coming week of storms could bring flooding, downed trees, and power outages to the North Bay.

Jeremy Sarrow, the Napa County Watershed and Flood Control Operations Manager, says they're going to be keeping a close eye on the water levels because recent rainfall already has saturated the ground.

"Any rain that makes landfall is just translated directly into runoff, which will cause the streams and rivers' surface elevation to rise potentially to flood stage," Sarrow said.

In a nearby neighborhood, a large excavator stood ready beside one of the culverts for Napa Creek that is surrounded by homes and prone to flooding.

"Napa Creek is draining off Mt. Veeder which is very steep, so it can come up very quickly," Sarrow said. "The reason we have these grates is massive trees will start to rack up on these grates and if we don't keep them clear with the excavator, it can preclude flow."

Sarrow says, although Wednesday's rain likely won't cause the Napa River to overflow, the floodgates are ready in case the storms throughout the week bring too much rainfall.

"The river does move fairly quickly when its raining, because you get all of the up-valley water coming down, so it picks up, and you see huge logs of trees going down the river," said Jennifer McKinnon, a longtime Napa resident who works near the river bank.

Some visitors said they planned their trip to Napa for Tuesday just to avoid the heavy rain and winds Wednesday and through the weekend.

"We come up here today because it's going to be nice weather today and tomorrow's going to be raining," said Will Duong, who had come up with Lisa Long, both from San Jose, to have dinner in Napa.

Both of them said they plan to stay inside on Wednesday.

"Just kind of stay at home and kind of hunker down," Long said.

Napa County said they had 7 sandbag stations prepped and ready for residents who need them.

Along with concerns about flooding, come worries about wind gusts that could reach up to 40miles-an-hour on the ridges, increasing the possibility of power outages.

Pacific Gas & Electric says they have been preparing.

"Our vegetation management team is out there doing some advance tree-trimming just making sure all the trees are as far away from our lines as possible," said Megan McFarland, a PG&E spokesperson 'We are looking at which regions are going to be hit the hardest and putting crews on notice, putting them on standby so if that we need extra help they can come in from other areas." 

PG&E's customers can sign up for outage alerts on the company's website and get notices by email, text message or a phone call if there's an outage in the customer's neighborhood.