Experts warn that the storm predicted to hit North Bay today could be biggest in 2 years
By LAURA NORTON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The first storm of the new year promises to pack a wallop, and Mela Angleman isn't taking chances.
Visions of 2005 flooding still float in her head, said Angleman, the sixth-generation owner of a Bodega Bay ranch. She spent Wednesday laying down straw and coconut-husk matting to limit damage.
"We're doing proactive, preventative work to prepare as much as possible," Angleman said. "We're trying to hold the soil in place to make sure the way that the water hits doesn't make it erode."
Forecasters, PG&E representatives and public safety officers are warning Bay Area and North Bay residents to prepare for what they say could be the biggest storm in two years.
Wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour and as much as 2½ inches of rainfall could mean power failures, downed trees and unsafe road and ocean conditions, they said.
"It's time to batten down the hatches," said Diana Henderson a forecaster with the National Weather Service.
Local Coast Guard officials are watching the storm closely and advising boaters to stay off the water because of expected high seas, winds and heavy rains.
"It's not a good idea to go out; it's going to be pretty nasty out there," said Joe Montes, a firefighter with the Bodega Bay Coast Guard.
If the storm hits as hard as expected, PG&E will begin an inventory of all available resources to better distribute them where needed, said spokeswoman Jana Schuering.
"We do have people prepared for this storm and every storm that ever happens," Schuering said, adding that there were a few things residents could do to minimize the impact of the storm on their homes and keep safe.
Henderson said the storm would whip into gear "just in time" for this morning's commute and roar through Friday evening. Showers and thunderstorms are expected over the weekend.
The projected rainfall could fill low reservoirs and bring the North Bay up to regular rainfall totals after an extremely dry season.
"We need it. We want it. But not all at once!" Angleman said as she finished preparations at the ranch.
You can reach Staff Writer Laura Norton at 521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.