Storm pounds Valley
A SONOMA COUNTY WATER AGENCY worker monitors a pump Sunday morning at the intersection of Bokman Place and Northside Avenue.
This past weekend's storm left a lot of downed trees and power lines - and at least two cars were damaged when a tree and a streetlight fell on them Saturday evening.
The Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District reported two overflows and a sinkhole at the Eighth Street East sewage facility.
The Valley received 2.57 inches since Friday with .55 reported Saturday and 1.20 on Sunday.
Brad Sherwood, public information officer for the Sonoma County Water Agency which operates the sanitation district, said the treatment plant exceeded its average winter flow peak of 22 million gallons a day Sunday. The excessive flow was due to a damaged wastewater main pipe that created a sinkhole which allowed a large quantity of water from nearby Schellville Creek into the pipe and the treatment plant, along with large pieces of tree branches and a large amount of rock and dirt, Sherwood said. Work crews have installed sand bags around the sinkhole to prevent further water infiltration into the pipe. A permanent repair to the pipe will be made later this summer. The same section of failed pipe was already scheduled to be replaced this summer under the district's capital improvement plan.
The overflows occurred Sunday at Oman Springs Court when 4,575 gallons of rainwater caused a wastewater pipe to overflow, and on Splude Road when 2,250 gallons overflowed.
Sherwood said the overflows stopped when the rains stopped.
He said it's unlikely that fish or wildlife were affected by the overflows due to the high amount of water entering the watershed. "For example, the flow in Sonoma Creek in Agua Caliente is usually less than 1 cubic-feet-a-second. When these overflows occurred, the flows were over 1,500 cfs," he said. "A vacuum truck was used to remove some of the wastewater."
The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Game, Sonoma County Health Services and Fire and Emergency Services were notified.
At around 11 p.m. Saturday, a tree and a streetlight came down on three vehicles in the cul-de-sac on Bokman Place.
Sunday morning, two of the vehicles were still trapped under the tree and light.
More than 1,800 PG&E customers lost power for up to four hours Saturday night as a broken pole plunged Agua Caliente and ajoining areas into darkness. Power was out from around Lichtenberg Avenue on the south to Madrone Road on the north.
Brandi Ehlers, with PG&E, said most of the customers had power restored within about four hours, but as of Monday morning, there were still two customers in the dark.
Area fire personnel were hopping Saturday night and Sunday morning with calls for downed trees and downed power lines.
Division Chief John Franceschi, with the Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority, said fire personnel responded to reports of downed trees Saturday night with the tree that hit the cars on Bockman Place being the major incident. Fire personnel were called out three different times Sunday to electrical wires on fire on Cypress Road.
Capt. Dan Pierce, with the Glen Ellen Fire District, said crews responded to eight tree-down or lines-down calls on Saturday and Sunday morning.
And Assistant Chief Ray Mulas with Schell-Vista Fire District, reported three or four trees down, including one on Watmaugh Road at 2 a.m. Sunday. "We expected a lot more calls yesterday (Sunday)," Mulas said.
And while spring officially arrived Sunday, Valley residents shouldn't start slathering themselves with SPF-anything yet.
The Valley is going to get hit by two more storms in the coming days - and will have garden-variety showers in between the storms.
Steve Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey, said the sunshine the Valley enjoyed Sunday afternoon and Monday won't last.
Anderson said another storm will blow in tonight and continue into Wednesday leaving as much as two more inches of rain behind. And another storm will roar through probably mid-day Thursday that will dump another one-to-two inches in its wake.
The rains will continue through the weekend.
On the upside of the rains, both Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino are at 103 percent of capacity. Lake Sonoma, as of Saturday, held 252,559 acre feet of water, while Lake Mendocino held 80,933 acre feet of water. An acre foot of water is 325,851 gallons.