Residents brave rain in Santa Rosa for fresh Christmas trees

As a new storm bore down on the North Bay, some tasks couldn't wait. 

"It was really the only night in our schedule to get a tree, we have friends coming over tomorrow," said Jake Smith of Santa Rosa.

Smith was loading a sodden fir onto the roof of his car as rain poured down, and admitted he didn't dawdle over the choice.

"The rain put a little pressure on, some fire under our feet," he said, "but we're happy to be outside." 

The heavy rain and wind Friday evening caused at least one road closure, Chanate Road at Hidden Valley Road, due to a dead tree that fell onto the road. 

It was cleared by 6pm. 

Santa Rosa also suffered a power outage on the east side of the city, in the Montgomery Village-Bennett Valley neighborhoods. 

PG&E did not specify a cause, but by 11 p.m. Friday had restored all but 1,000 of the original 4,000 customers affected. 


Flash floods in Sonoma County's burn areas remain a worry. 

The rebuild neighborhoods are strung with straw barriers to help absorb runoff and guide it away from the home sites. 

Aside from the potential problems, people seemed to welcome the recurring winter storms. 

"It's awesome, let it come on down, it's great," said Rick Behrens of Santa Rosa, who was out for some grocery shopping in the rain. 

"I'm already prepared, we had rain already this week, and the week before, I think we're ready for it," Behrens said.

Another shopper greeted the storm with relief.

"I'm happy it's raining so there's no fires," said Zendrine Stievenar of Santa Rosa. "Honestly, I wish it was raining like this last month."  

The owner of Mickelson's Christmas Trees expressed apprehension about the storm. 

"We're supposed to get 20 to 25 mile an hour winds, so trying to keep everything tight, and hope it's okay in the morning," said Trevor Mickelson, at his lot on Todd Road. "Trying to keep the tents secure can be a problem with the wind, and trees fall over but we try to manage." 

Businesses dry up when it rains. 

Those who ventured out had their choice of trees.

"I brought my little guys with their boots on, and they're loving it," said Santa Rosa father Gustavo Contreras, as he watched his sons stomp in the puddles. "I think the rain is fun and we need it, so let's rock and roll and make the best of it!"