People paddle and row through the flooded Barlow Market District in Sebastopol, Calif., on February 27, 2019.
Water rose to the roofs of homes and submerged cars as the Russian River overflowed its banks, forcing authorities in Sonoma County, about 70 miles (110 km) north of San Francisco, to order the evacuation of 3,600 people, local authorities said.
The service says another 8 to 16 inches of snow is forecast Wednesday night above 7,000 feet.
The flooding this week isolated the towns of Rio Nido, Guerneville, Monte Rio and Cazadero, inundating roads around those communities, according to the Sonoma County emergency operations center.
The swollen Russian River was forecast to rise more throughout the day, engorged by days of rain from western USA storms that has also dumped heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada, throughout the Pacific Northwest and into Montana.
Elsewhere, the storms that scoured the western US dumped heavy rain and snow.
Aerial photos show Guerneville, California, completely cut off by floodwaters as the Russian River crested on Wednesday. The Russian River has crested over flood stage and is expected to continue to rise to record levels and inundate the town of Guerneville.
Residents of the town with 4,500 people and two dozen other communities along the Russian River were ordered to evacuate.
"Family most important, property second", Gore said. It peaked at 46 feet late Wednesday.
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"As long as everybody is safe, dry and warm, it's all fine".
Zak Wood, who lives in Forestville, about a mile from the river, said, "I have lived here in this area for the last 10 years, and this is the highest I have ever seen it".
Officials said they hoped to allow displaced residents to return home on Friday, once inspectors had a chance to check the safety of bridges and remove hazards such as downed power lines.
"(The proclamation) is not just a sign that we have insufficient resources or we're overwhelmed, but instead that we recognize the true potential worst-case scenario here", Godley said, "and we want to make sure that we're mobilized effectively and fully to deal with that threat". On some streets, the water reached the windows of cars.
With more rain forecast later, a flood warning was in effect for parts of the area, the weather service said.
"I fell into the mud when the tree fell over the top of me".
The Sheriff's Office said three people tried to reach the man by driving a tractor through the fast-moving floodwaters but the tractor stalled and they couldn't reach him in time. Nina Sheehan, who is visiting from North Carolina, had to abandon her rental SUV after it got stuck in a flooded hotel parking lot.
However, Bridges said it will take weeks to clean up his R3 Hotel, as he has done in past floods. "Do not try to go through any water over a foot high because you never know what you're going to find". "You see just the rooftops popping over on the side of the road", county employee Joe Pease told CNN affiliate KGO.
"Major flooding is considered 34 feet and above, and the record crest for this location is 40.6 feet", Strait also warned Tuesday.