The first of several storms set to hit Petaluma over the next few days arrived this morning, bringing with it approximately .84 inches of rain over a 24-hour period. Most of the rainfall was between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Standing water was seen in several areas throughout the city, including approximately six inches of water pooled up on Old Redwood Highway, just west of the Valero gas station before the Highway 101 North onramp, and several areas in downtown Petaluma.
Public Works Director Dan St. John said that four city crews worked in different sections of the city to quickly alleviate the "mini-flooding," and prepare the rest of the city for the largest storm, which is set to arrive Friday.
"We're holding our breath until tomorrow, and particularly Friday," said St. John. "We're expecting .25 inches tomorrow and possibly as much as 2.5 inches Friday and 1.25 inches on Saturday."
The rain caused several traffic accidents in the area as well. California Highway Patrol responded to 16 vehicle accidents Wednesday, more than double their average, according to Officer Jonathan Sloat.
With more flooding expected over the next few days, the Petaluma Fire Department is urging residents to monitor the storms on the city's website at www.cityofpetaluma.net or by visiting www.weather.gov or www.weather.org. Sacks and sandbags have been placed at the north end of Hopper Street, just past Shamrock Materials, Inc. Residents and businesses are encouraged to help themselves as needed.