UPDATE: Noon -- St. Helena seems to have survived this weekend’s torrential downpours, with localized flooding downtown but no major damage caused by the Napa River or Sulphur Creek.
The city has received nine inches of rain since Thursday, including three inches falling in the 24-hour period between Saturday morning and Sunday morning.
Flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service remain in effect until 8 p.m., but Public Works Director John Ferons said he isn’t anticipating any problems.
The hardest rain in St. Helena fell Saturday night. By 10 a.m., the rain was over and the sun finally appeared as a rainbow shone against the dark storm clouds.
As of 11 a.m. water levels were receding in Calistoga, which suggests that St. Helena’s stretch of the Napa River should be cresting soon, said Ferons.
At Vineyard Valley Mobile Home Park, the site of the city’s most devastating floods, residents walked their dogs along the new floodwall, safe and dry thanks to a $30 million flood project.
“The scariest thing was watching the news when they were saying the rivers were going to overflow,” said Carolyn Schwarz, who’s lived in the park for six years. Her neighbors who are out of town called her after getting phone calls from concerned friends asking about “all the flooding in St. Helena.”
“I told them we’re OK,” said Schwarz.
She said park residents are “absolutely” thankful for the flood project. “You can see how high the river’s gotten, but it’s great to know this wall is here,” she said.
At the southern end of the flood project, water backed up into the detention area known as “Terrace B” but didn’t threaten the levee. Ferons said it’s hard to know how the park would have fared without the flood project, but the water level appeared to be approaching a point roughly equivalent to the base of the park’s old floodwall.
Fulton Lane residents also appeared to be dry, notwithstanding some surface flooding that also affected other streets, including Adams and Tainter, and which even managed to infiltrate a few businesses.
Giugni’s Deli posted a sign in its front window announcing it was “Closed Due to Flooding.” Gloria Romeo, owner of Romeo Style, was taken aback that Hunt Avenue had apparently flooded during the storm, causing water to seep into her shop under the door. She said that’s never happened in her 11 and a half years in business.
A city employee brought Romeo three sandbags and showed her how to put them in front of the door. She and her husband were waiting for one of their employees to bring a Shop-Vac so they could clean up the water.
At 10 a.m. Sunday, Mark Roomian and John Clifford shoveled sand into bags at the end of Adams Street, one of two locations where the city offered free sandbag stations.
Roomian said, who lives on Deer Park Road near Sunnyside, said floodwaters from an ordinarily small creek were threatening a low-lying area of his property, where Clifford’s mother lives.
“We’ve been preparing for this the last few days,” said Roomian.