California residents examine the damage caused by the decline of historic floods


Tom Orr began moving words, scripts, clothes and photo albums from his apartment as authorities ordered evacuations along a flooding river in northern California, threatening to touch a ridge historical.

But the actor and the writer could not move costumes, computers and performance videos. So he moved these on his mezzanine bed about 10 feet and prayed that they would survive. On Wednesday, TV reports showed a muddy brown water almost swallowing its ground-floor unit and much of the small town of Guerneville, which is part of the famed Sonoma County vineyard and is a popular tourist destination. .

The inhabitants woke up on Thursday in the sun and began to assess the damage during the withdrawal of the water. Orr, 48, was among those still unable to return home after the rain-swollen Russian river reached 14 meters Wednesday night, its highest level in more than 20 years.

"I feel so helpless to sit here and wait before I can come back and start recovering what I can," Orr said in a text message to the Associated Press before preparing a friend to Take it by canoe to Main Street Bistro, one of the few places in the city not to be flooded.

Sonoma County officials said they expect the communities of Guerneville and Monte Rio to be accessible by car on Friday. The two-day storm made cities accessible by boat only Wednesday.

A station of the National Meteorological Service measured 20 inches of rain in 48 hours.

In Sonoma County, no serious injuries or deaths were reported as a result of a flood, but a man about 330 kilometers north, in Ferndale, died attempting to touch three children.

Samantha Karges, spokeswoman for the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, said Wednesday that the unidentified man was trying to cross up to 1.5 meters of water Wednesday night when he he went home on foot. .

Two adults and one child tried to save the man, but their tractor stalled in the water. MPs in a boat then saved the children and three children from the house, said Karges.

The body of the missing man was found Thursday morning. He was the father of a 12-year-old trapped in the house with two children under the age of 4, said Karges. She was not sure if the three children were related. The low-lying rural area about 473 kilometers north of San Francisco is home to many dairy farms and is flooded when the Eel River passes along its banks.

In Sonoma County, Guerneville and Monte Rio remained isolated by the floodwaters that flooded the communities. The water was at the chest in some places, many feet to each other.

In downtown Guerneville, some residents were on the roofs of their flooded houses on two floors, watching neighbors and others paddling in kayaks, canoes and rowboats on sodden streets. An oversized National Guard truck was passing by.

The video of the drone showed a sign saying "Monte Rio is waiting for your return" hanging over a muddy water that hid all traces of the road below.

In Sonoma County, Sheriff Mark Essick said Thursday that three women were to be saved. Two were on a boat without paddles, and one was rescued from a tree after driving his car in floodwaters, he said.

About 2,000 homes, businesses and other structures were flooded with water up to 2.4 m (8 feet) deep. About 3,500 people were under evacuation order.

In addition, two wastewater treatment plants were not operating, which raised concerns about sewage discharges, said Briana Khan, spokesman for Sonoma County.

Guerneville, a town of 4,500 people, is a former forest community that attracts many tourists, including gay men and lesbians who frequent the city's seaside resorts and fine restaurants. Throughout the storm, residents with canoes and kayaks accompanied their neighbors and documented the rising waters with photos posted on social media.

The locals are used to flooding the Russian River in rainy weather, but not like that.

In Monte Rio, 28-year-old Michael Super helplessly watched for water from five different entry points, including doors and walls. He grabbed the cat and the dog and found a higher ground.

He said that the owner had insurance, but that the silt and dirty water are a mess to clean.

"A lot of the furniture will have to go to the landfill," he said. "We have seen oil and gas deposits and bottles of alcohol, so the water is not safe."

Orr moved to Guerneville about five years ago, driven out of San Francisco by rising costs. He helped create a theater show at a local restaurant. It did not work, but he remained unable to return to the city.

He started moving things out of his house Tuesday afternoon, humming a version of "My Funny Valentine" called "My Floody Valentine" to keep his spirits up. At 22 o'clock, the water was too high for him to enter.

It does not have insurance, but the items it hopes to survive are not easily replaceable: computers, floppy disks and video tapes containing decades of tests, performances, musical ideas and satirical parodies impertinent airs of Broadway ".

He is a cabaret artist used to making jokes to avoid grief.

"It's the most serious thing that ever happened to me, but I do not know the line of striking," he said. "For now, I'm trying to do my best to keep everyone laughing."

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