After California went through one of the worst droughts in its history, the tides have turned and Sonoma County has just experienced its most rain in over 20 years, causing several million dollars in road damage. The estimated damage is nearing 25 million dollars, according to the Press Democrat.
Nearly 50 roads have been destroyed with inmates from Delta Camp in Solano County cutting a large ditch near Forestville where an unstoppable slope was preventing 70 residents from going in and out. A few homes in the area were deemed unsafe by authorities.
The road that got hit the worse was Skaggs Spring Road, which was as much as 20 feet under dirt. The road has been worked on by an excavator. According to Johannes Hoevertsz, transportation and public works director, it is the largest slide in the county.
River Road, which for some is the only road back to Highway 101 and Geyserville, was nearly completely flooded and would have been if it were not for giant boulders that were put on the bank of the Russian River.
The road damage has included slides, slips, and culvert damage. Slides are an easy fix, but slips are a different story. Slips are when the road itself moves and, to combat that, a retaining wall must be built to hold the road in place.
On Feb. 26, Santa Rosa had the most rain since 1902 with a whopping 5.66 inches. Since that day, county crews have been working 12-hour days in order to make sure the roads are at least drivable.
With some of the roads being fixed, people are feeling much safer, but the loose soil has caused many trees to be on the brink of falling over. Overall, the county has decided to red tag 35 structures and has yellow tagged 600 structures, according to the Press Democrat.
A yellow tag requires owners to obtain a permit to repair the damage, while a red tag is more serious and prohibits occupants from entering that structure.
The roads are just a part of the damage this amount of rainfall causes. Another 120 million dollars in damages have occurred, with 2,600 homes and businesses being ravaged by flooding. Sonoma County has always been heavily damaged from floods, however, as they rank number one for repetitive losses under the National Flood Insurance Program, according to the Press Democrat.
Many of the roads in Rohnert Park were closed, even in spots you would not expect. Even Redwood Drive, which is on the way to a plethora of food outlets, was closed for almost two days.
The closing of roads because of floods did have an impact on some Sonoma State students. Students living in Sebastopol had trouble getting to school because of all the roads over there that were flooded. Sonoma State was not canceled, but Rancho Cotati High School, adjacent to Sonoma State, was canceled due to the power being out.
With all these damages, it brings up the thought of insurance. Flood insurance can cost up to $500, with 20 percent of policy owners living outside severe flood zones areas.
Sonoma County will continue experiencing rain, but should not see as much rain as previously seen. According to the County of Sonoma, all but 10 roads are open right now; while others have restricted access.