Sonoma Co. burn areas prepare for storm

Sonoma County officials are advising residents living in the October wildfire burn areas to be "rain ready" in light of a National Weather Service forecast for periods of heavy rain tonight through Saturday morning.

The Santa Rosa Fire Department is encouraging residents to keep their cellphones on at all times to receive emergency warnings from the National Weather Service and SoCo Alerts. Residents may sign up for the alerts at SoCoAlert.com.

"We urge our residents to use caution outdoors and avoid our creeks during higher intensity rainfall," Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal said.

Residents that live in and around the burn scars from the Tubbs and Nuns fires can receive information about possible flooding and mud or debris flows at www.sonomacountyrecovers.org/rain-ready.

Sand bags for Santa Rosa residents are available at the Municipal Services Center, located at 55 Stony Point Road. The yard is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Proof of residency is required.

Sonoma County Water Agency officials said a system of 10 stream/rain gauges and 12 rain-only gauges were installed throughout the Nuns and Tubbs burn areas and along streams within and downstream of the burn areas.

The gauges provide real-time data to weather forecasters who are responsible for sending flash flood and mud or debris flow alerts.

"This system of gauges allows us to monitor streams and rainfall in real-time and gives us a more accurate picture of conditions in the burn areas that are vulnerable. We can also start to gather historical flow data along more streams which is critical for our stream maintenance and flood 
control operations," chief engineer Jay Jasperse said.

The real-time rainfall and stream flow data is available to the public at https://sonoma.onerain.com/.