Northern California can't catch a break from storms

By Carter Evans

Northern California residents hunkered down for even more flooding in rainfall after getting drenched by the third Pacific storm in less than a week.

Sunday night was the last punch in a weather system that's been pounding California for five days, and it was supposed to be the worst.

The rains came with a vengeance. High winds uprooted trees and overturned trucks near San Francisco. To the east, colder temperatures turned heavy rain into snow, saving the mountain town of Truckee from the predicted flooding.

3rd major storm in a week lashes soaked N. Calif.

California's wine country had also braced for the worst.

"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," said Jill Techel, the mayor of Napa.

Napa Mayor Jill Techel
Napa Mayor Jill Techel
CBS News

Techel said her town has spent more than $250 million over 20 years to protect the flood prone city. For this storm, it worked.

"That whole area of town would have been closed and we would have had to evacuate everyone out of there," she said.

But down the road in Sonoma, Matt Nagan's restaurant is still in danger.

"The location where I am is where a river runs though it, literally, and I'm on a little island," he said.

Matt Nagan of Sonoma
Matt Nagan of Sonoma
CBS News

The rising water overwhelmed a nearby creek, sending up to four feet of water into the street outside.

But by midday, the sun poked through the clouds as the system moved through faster than expected.

"We're not out of the woods yet, but we dodged a bullet," Nagan said.

According to meteorologists, the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been because there were breaks in the storm and the ground had a chance to dry out.

The timing is also important. Had it been later in the winter, rivers would have been running higher and the flooding could have been worse.