Flooding concerns ease in Northern Calif.
SAN FRANCISCO The third powerful storm in a week drenched an already saturated Northern California, but concerns of serious flooding eased as the system moved through faster than expected.
The storm dropped as much as an inch of rain per hour Sunday in some areas, toppling trees and knocking out electrical service to tens of thousands of people, officials said.
Rivers across Northern California swelled from the deluge, but did not flood as extensively as had been expected, officials said.
Forecasters had issued flood warnings for the Napa and Russian rivers, two rivers north of San Francisco with a history of flooding, as well as the Truckee River, near Lake Tahoe, but by Sunday afternoon had canceled the warning for the Russian River.
"It (the storm) moved through a lit bit faster than it was looking like it would, so it didn't plant on top of us and keeping raining," said Austin Cross, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "The period of heavy rain didn't last as long."
Colder temperatures near Lake Tahoe turned heavy rain into snow, saving the mountain town of Truckee from the predicted flooding.
They prepared for the worst, as did residents across northern California, and with good reason: Days of strong wind and torrential rain uprooted trees, knocked out power and caused flooding.
Residents at a mobile home park near Sacramento will start their week cleaning up from floodwater that forced them to leave their homes on Sunday.
In wine country, rivers raged, but the flood-prone city of Napa was spared.
Mayor Jill Techel told CBS News correspondent Carter Evans that's because they've spent $250 million over the last 20 years to keep the nearby Napa River out of city streets.
"The water was coming fast and furious, but the culvert system we created was able to take that extra water and take it safely through town," Techel said.
After handing out more than 8,000 sandbags and about 150 tons of sand prior to the storm hitting, officials breathed a sigh of relief when the heaviest rain moved out of the area and the city appeared to avoid any major damage from the storm.
Most of the flooding was confined to agricultural areas, like the Larson Family Winery in Sonoma County. Owner Tom Larson told "CBS This Morning" the rain recharges his vineyard's water supply, making for potentially better growth next year. "We don't have to irrigate the vines maybe as much we'd have to irrigate in a year without any flooding," Larson said.
In Truckee, 30 miles west of Reno, city officials were focusing on snow removal Sunday afternoon instead of flood control after the town received 4 to 5 inches of snow in the morning, said Assistant City Manager Alex Terrazas.
"We continue to keep an eye on the river, but things are certainly better than they could have been," he said. "We'll transition back to flood management if we need to."
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