Rain-drenched North Bay dries, clean-up efforts underway

For such a big storm, North Bay damage on Monday was relatively spotty across the board. However, some folks got hit pretty hard. 

Sunday's rains saw a small tributary to Matanzas Creek in Santa Rosa's Bennett Valley rise well out of its banks. 

That caused the city to order evacuations of 95 homes. Two evacuated children, now back home, told us their experience. 

"I didn't know how high the water was gonna rise of if it was gonna get higher. I just prayed it was gonna get lower," said Carter. "The police told us to move out. Yeah, it was scary," said Zac.

Just a few days ago, drought and fire were top of mind. "I had my clothes for evacuation packed because this is typically our fire season. But, little did I know I'd have an opportunity that wouldn't be have anything to do with fire," said Bennett Valley resident Rebecca Ryan.

It was the only Santa Rosa creek to truly run amok. "This one was in an area where we wouldn't expect to see it. It was very unusual to have an evacuation of that size for a flood, let alone kind of deep in the heart of the city of Santa Rosa," said Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal. 

There was such an aggressive flow of water that a lot of the rocks that were in tree lawns and landscaping ended up coming down he road and they kept going down the road, sometimes blocks away from where they originally were.

A newly-remodeled fourplex apartment, right beside the creek, was flooded and reflooded, causing all units to be red tagged; the residents put into hotels. "It went a away for a while and then suddenly it started to rain harder and like within 30 to 45 minutes, it was almost knee high and it was crazy," said music teacher and apartment dweller Michael Leavitt.

The only seriously worrisome problems were two mudslides in a burn scar off Yerba Buena that, though they sent debris into Santa Rosa creeks which cause some street flooding, nothing major came from them.

Just south, at At Ben Amaya's house in Petaluma, it never flooded in 30 years until Caltrans put in a sound wall in June. 

"They kind of land locked us in here without addressing the concerns of a French drain or something so the back yards wouldn't flood," said Mr. Amaya. Caltrans told me that it is aware of the general problem and said it was bringing a pump to his home as a prelude to doing correct drainage for the entire street.