NWS flood chart of 2019The flood on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 will go down in history as one of the worst along the Russian River.  But there are differences of opinion as to which historic floods rank first and second.  According to the Russian River Historical Society, the 1986 flood crested at 48.8′, making it numero uno.  This coincides with findings of the NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration).  The National Weather Service, however, states that the December 23, 1955 flood topped this at 49.7′ as well as the December 23, 1964 flood at 49.6′.  But both organizations agree that the recent deluge ranks sixth all-time.

The Russian River is 110 miles in length with its headwaters north of Ukiah and flows thru Alexander Valley, which was transformed last week into a six-foot-deep lake.

Historic Flood Levels:

The last twenty-five miles of the Russian River cuts a narrow path thru the Coast Range to its mouth at Jenner by the sea, leaving little room for the angry waters to roam beyond towns along its banks.  It is here where the river accumulates most of its runoff, where it inflicts the greatest damage.  It has flooded in the low lying communities 36 of the last 64 years.  Flood stage at Guerneville is 32 feet.  Last week it crested at 45.4 feet, the highest level since 1995.