The nearby city of Santa Rosa got 4.64 inches (11.8 cm) of rain, smashing its previous record of 1.56 inches (4 cm) in a single storm, according to National Weather Service (NWS) data.
Their homes surrounded by flood waters, they have been moving around on kayaks and canoes.
The Russian River topped 32 feet (9.8 meters) Tuesday evening and it could crest at more than 46 feet (14 meters) by Wednesday night, which would be its highest level in about 25 years.
In parts of California wine country, 8 feet of floodwaters have inundated homes and vineyards over the last 24 hours.
Homes and businesses in a flooded neighborhood in Guerneville.
The river was one of several in Northern California that was engorged by days of rain from western United States storms that also dumped heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada, throughout the Pacific Northwest and into Montana, where Gov Steve Bullock issued an emergency order to help keep up the supply of heating fuel amid frigid temperatures. The town is now under mandatory evacuation and roads leading into the town have been flooded over. Some places were standing in 8 feet (2.44 meters) of water.
The Northern California town of Guerneville has been turned into an island as the Russian River has risen to more than 45 feet.
Permit Sonoma director Tennis Wick said 2,600 homes were impacted by the flood, and 30 teams of damage inspectors will work around the clock through the weekend inspecting properties.
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Dozens of people were rescued from cars that became stranded Tuesday and early Wednesday after drivers tried to cross flooded roads.
Crum said deputies went door to door before the Russian River broke its banks late Tuesday to advise people to leave. Permit Sonoma will open a local assistance center in Guerneville for residents to get permits to fix their homes, Wick said. One guest's rental auto got stuck in the water. On one street, the water reached the rooflines of a few buildings.
"It's the price you pay to live in paradise", he said.
"I could not afford to buy flood insurance", she said.
Bridges said this flood was the fourth he's experienced in 33 years, and the locals took the disaster calmly.
Heavy snow has prompted the closure of several mountain roads in the Sierra Nevada.
The floods were caused by record-breaking rainfall in the region, according to the Weather Service.
The Napa River also crested on Wednesday, but the damage across Napa County was relatively minor compared to what Sonoma County has suffered. "We're not trying to have people standing on their roofs and have to get saved in the middle of the night".