Mix heavy rain and narrow river channels and you’re bound to get floods. I’ve had one home and one business flood, so high ground looks good to me, even in dry times. When floods are rumored, it helps to have good information about projected river levels. Even the best estimates are often wrong, but it’s smart to keep your eye on accurate information.
This web page from the California Department of Water Resources combines both rainfall and flood stage information for Guerneville, the most likely flood area in Sonoma County. Here’s an example.
The left side of the chart is five days of historical information, with rainfall on top and flood stage on the bottom. The right side of the chart contains five days of predictions for both rainfall and flood stage. The nearer in time the more accurate the predictions. Those are shown in green. The state also attempts to look deeper into the future, but they call it guidance rather than predictions, since they don’t have enough information to make a strong prediction. That information is in magenta and is worth watching, particularly when rains are heavy and flood rumors start to spread. The image is a link to the actual state information that is updated frequently.
The best advice I can give potential flood victims is to keep your pictures and important documents where you can grab them fast and keep them safe. Furnitures, clothes, applicances, etc. can be replaced, but your wedding pictures, birth certificates, etc. can be impossible to recover. Next best advice…get a motel room in Santa Rosa and wait the flood out with electricity, working toilets, showers, and hot food.