A bar sits under water in a flooded neighborhood on Feb. 27, 2019 in Guerneville, California. The Russian River has crested over flood stage and is expected to continue to rise to record levels and inundate the town of Guerneville.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Images Capture the Dire Circumstances of the Northern California Floods

March 1, 2019

On Tuesday, a slow-moving storm system moved over Northern California, inundating the region with torrential rain. Small towns on the bank of the Russian River were quickly overwhelmed by floodwaters, as rainfall amounts reached to 20 inches within 48 hours in some areas.

By Wednesday night, the Sonoma County towns of Guerneville and Monte Rio were completely cut off from surrounding areas after the river swelled to 46 feet, 14 feet above flood stage. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office described the the two towns as “islands,” as access to them was only possible by boat.

More than 2,000 homes and businesses were submerged by floodwaters. Residents who chose not to follow the evacuation orders given on Tuesday relied on kayaks and boats to get around town, according to the Associated Press. Those who did leave will have to wait for roads to be cleared of debris before returning home to assess the damage.

The photos below capture the devastating flood conditions endured by local residents. While the water is slowly receding, the region is bracing for more rainfall this weekend.

Jonathan Von Renner checks on his son Jonathan Jr., and friend Emilio Ontivares in Guerneville, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.
Kent Porter—AP
Ryan Lance, front, and Anthony Nash of the Russian River Fire Protection District swift water rescue team help residents of Sycamore Court Apartment Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in lower Guerneville, California.
Kent Porter—AP
Flood waters from the Russian River partially submerge properties in Guerneville, Calif., on Feb. 28, 2019. The river in the wine country north of San Francisco reached its highest level in 25 years Wednesday night.
Josh Edelson—AP
A resident and his dog navigate through a flooded neighborhood on Feb. 28, 2019 in Guerneville, California.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images
Rescue workers evacuate residents on a truck as they drive through a flooded neighborhood on Feb. 27, 2019 in Forestville, California.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images
Jay Michael Tucker kayaks through the flooded Surrey Resort as the Russian River flows through it in Guerneville, Calif., on Feb. 15, 2019.
Josh Edelson—AP
The intersection of Highways 121 and 12 are closed to traffic after the Sonoma Creek surged over its banks and flooded the roadway during the heavy rainstorm in Sonoma, California on Feb. 26, 2019.
Paul Chinn—San Francisco Chronicle/Polaris
Two vehicles follow a Sonoma County Sheriff's vehicle through flooded Neeley Road as the Russian River rises towards flood stage in Guerneville, California on Feb. 26, 2019. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office issued mandatory evacuations in communities along the Russian River and urged people to "evacuate now." As of 9:32 p.m. on Feb. 26, the river had reached 35.1 feet.
Scott Strazzante—San Francisco Chronicle/Polaris

Write to Wilder Davies at wilder.davies@time.com.