Evacuations Offered to California Flood Victims

Recent heavy rains in northern California are flooding the region, especially near the Russian River area. Liane Hansen speaks with Sonoma County emergency services official Steve Sharp.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Heavy rains on the West Coast this weekend triggered mudslides, swelled rivers over their banks and prompted officials to call for residents in flood-prone areas to seek higher ground. One man was killed and a woman suffered a broken leg when a mudslide destroyed her home. More than half a million customers have lost power, and more rain is forecast for today. Earlier, Steve Sharp of Sonoma County Department of Emergency Services, gave us a status report.

Mr. STEVE SHARP (Sonoma County Department of Emergency Services): Russian River at Greenville crested at about 1:00 this morning at 41.8 feet, and current level's 41.7. Of course, flood level is 32. We're expecting that to kind of hold, dropping to below flood level to 32 feet probably tomorrow morning, say about 1, 2:00.

HANSEN: More rain is expected. Are you making preparations for that?

Mr. SHARP: We are. We don't know that that's gonna change too much, but the ground is very saturated right now, so we may be looking at other problems, mostly related to slides and all.

HANSEN: Hmm. Have residents cooperated with the evacuation efforts?

Mr. SHARP: We've had some evacuations in the Russian River area and in some of the low-lying areas in the cities but not a whole lot of people in shelters right now.

HANSEN: Mm-hmm. And is it difficult for people to get around?

Mr. SHARP: Particularly in the Russian River area. Many of the roads are closed, and then we've got another list of road closures mainly due to slides and maybe damage that occurred yesterday, but water levels have receded quite a bit, and except for the Russian River area, most areas are accessible.

HANSEN: Steve Sharp with the Sonoma County Department of Emergency Services.

Thanks a lot, Steve.

Mr. SHARP: Sure. Bye-bye.

HANSEN: Bye-bye.

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