RIO LINDA, Calif. — New flooding hit Northern California on Thursday as communities dealt with runoff from Wednesday night thunderstorms and braced for still more rain over the weekend.
"The system that is moving in has been called by our climatologist a major storm, affecting California from Arcata all the way down to the Tehachapis," said Jeff Cohen, a spokesman for the Department of Water Resources.
Officials said they were keeping a wary eye on the state's stressed levee system, particularly along the lower San Joaquin River. Repair crews toiled feverishly on levees during a break in the weather Thursday.
Federal authorities also said they were suspending portions of the Endangered Species Act to help expedite the repairs. Officials will "address the fish and wildlife concerns after the threat to human safety has subsided," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.
Dozens of homes were flooded in the north Sacramento suburb of Rio Linda--the site of frequent flooding--when two rain-swollen creek branches overflowed. At least 18 people were rescued by firefighters, including at least one woman who had no desire to leave her flooded home.
Lorraine Larson of Rio Linda was handcuffed by sheriff's deputies and placed in a patrol car after she argued with evacuation officials. She was not charged with wrongdoing and was later released, a sheriff's dispatcher said.
The rescue teams were told to stand down about midday, and the water began receding, fire officials said. But sandbags were being assembled at a local water district.
Significant flooding occurred Thursday in orchards and rice farms near Wheatland, which is in Yuba County, Cohen said.
Another storm was expected to hit late today and peak Saturday afternoon, dumping 4 inches of rain in the Sierra foothills and several feet of new snow above 7,000 feet.