Napa residents, Cal-EMA concerned Napa River will flood

11:07 PM, Dec 1, 2012   |    comments
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Napa River plain

NAPA, Calif. - Residents prepare for the worst with the Napa River projected to surge above flood level on Sunday afternoon.

Residents are on high alert as they filled 700 sandbags with 10 tons of sand in three hours Saturday morning. The Napa River is already swollen from two major storms and another round of heavy rain is on the way.

"We expect the worst of it tomorrow morning," Oakville resident Tom Gumina said. "That usually happens nightfall, then the river rises, it comes down the slough, and floods our area."

The Napa River is one of several rising waterways the state is closely monitoring.

"We've had high winds and we've been wet now for four, five days," Flood Operations Center Branch Chief Bill Croyle said. "And again as we see the biggest punch of the storm to come in over the next 24 hours, well, it's just going to help move things around."

With the worst still to come, the command center at California Emergency Management Agency remains activated. Officials are ready to respond should counties need extra help. So far, only Placer and Lassen counties have reached out, but much of Northern California is at risk.

"The burn areas from the earlier wildfires," Cal-EMA spokesperson Tina Walker said. "We've got mud and debris issues that could happen as a result of continued downpour. We're also watching urban flooding and impacts to local communities."

Communities like Napa are no strangers to flooding. Back in 2005, the river flooded thousands of acres across Napa. Thousands of homes were flooded and destroyed. Since then, flood protection projects have been put in place.

"When you see it happen, you always remember," Napa resident Danny Lerma said. "And you say 'I'm going to be better prepared.' And that's what they're doing right now."


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