SAN FRANCISCO — The Latest on winter storms slamming the western U.S. (all times local):
Officials say flood waters have inundated a California town north of San Francisco and that the community is now only accessible by boats after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks.
The Sonoma Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Wednesday that Guerneville is “officially an island” because all roads leading to it are covered by water.
Residents of the town with 4,500 people and two dozen other communities along the Russian River were ordered to evacuate.
The National Weather Service says the Russian River in Sonoma County topped 32 feet (9.8 metres) Tuesday evening and it that it could crest at more than 46 feet (14 metres) by Wednesday night.
The river has repeatedly flooded following heavy rains, but this marks the highest level that its waters have risen in more than two decades.
Several other Northern California creeks and rivers are expected to crest before the storm eases out of the region.
Heavy snow has prompted the closure of several mountain roads in the Sierra Nevada.
Thousands of people along a flooded river are under evacuation orders as a relentless storm pounds Northern California with heavy rain and snow.
The town of Guerneville and some two dozen other communities are at risk of flooding from the Russian River north of San Francisco, which hit flood stage Tuesday evening and was expected to peak Wednesday morning at more than 46 feet (14 metres). That’s the highest point in nearly a quarter-century.
No major problems have been reported yet but authorities worry about impassable roads and the chance of mudslides in areas scarred by wildfires.
Flood watches and warnings also remain up throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the Sierra Nevada, snow closed some 50 miles (15 metres) of Interstate 80 to the Nevada state line overnight.