Hector Alvarez, 41, died on New Year's Eve after the red Kia he was driving went into the creek near Newman, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department reported. Two people in the car were rescued.
Stanislaus County sheriff's reports say two cars, both carrying relatives of Alvarez's, were on Eastin Road near Anderson Road about 9:30 p.m., when they hit water pooled in the road.
The Kia went into the creek, and three family members were dragged down by the fastmoving water, said Sgt. Kevin Davis.
Rescue workers from the Newman Fire Department threw ropes into the creek and pulled out two people who were about 20 feet from the bank, Davis said, but could not reach Alvarez in time.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
In Northern California, heavy rain and wind caused more flooding and prompted evacuations in the waterlogged wine country of Sonoma and Napa counties.
By Sunday evening, 3 inches of new rainfall again threatened to flood the Napa River and keep the Russian River pouring over its banks.
"It's coming in wetter and windier than expected over Northern California," said Arthur Hinojosa, chief hydrologist with the state Department of Water Resources.
Further inland, strong winds sent water over the top of a levee in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, forcing the evacuation of up to 100 residents from the community of Twitchell Island in Sacramento County, officials said.
Along the Sacramento River near Collinsville in Solano County, several dozen people were evacuated as the strong winds threw the water over levee walls, cracking them under the pressure, said Paula Toynbee, spokeswoman for the Solano County Sheriff's Department.
"It's getting worse. It's actually tearing apart," Toynbee said.
Although there wasn't much rain in the Modesto area, wind caused problems. Three Modesto Irrigation District crews plus four trouble-shooters spent much of the day repairing power problems, MID spokeswoman Maree Hawkins said. Most of the trouble was caused by trees falling into power lines.
It was the same in Turlock, where the Turlock Irrigation District reported several power failures throughout the city.
Electricity was out throughout much of Emanuel Medical Center on Sunday night, a hospital spokeswoman said. Generators kept the hospital operating and no patients were in danger, a nursing supervisor said.
Storm winds fell trees
Modesto firefighters kept busy, too, but with trees, not fires. The storm knocked down many trees, including some that crashed into homes and others that blocked streets.
Two trees fell outside the entrance to the Cedar Creek condominium complex, and another came down at 2033 Trent Drive.
The trunk of a large Modesto ash split, and the tree threatened to crush a nearby apartment at Garden East, at 1213 Norwegian Ave. To protect the family of four that lived there, which included a pregnant woman, firefighters contacted the Red Cross, which arranged for temporary housing.
A large tree fell Sunday at 202 Olive Ave. in Modesto, causing minor damage to a house, knocking down power and phone lines and blocking the street.
South of Modesto, the weather service issued a flood watch, as rain continued to pound areas in Merced County. Atwater recorded 1.28 inches of rain and Los Banos soaked up 1.71 inches.
In Modesto, MID's gauge measured just 0.03 inch of rain, while Turlock to the south had 0.92 inch and Manteca to the north had 0.52.
In the Sierra, Interstate 80 was reopened Sunday, a day after mudslides shut down the roadway about 25 miles west of Reno.
Crews worked overnight to remove more than 130 truckloads of rock and dirt after heavy rain halted temporarily, said Mark Dinger, a spokesman for the California Department of Transportation.
Chain requirements were posted on Highway 108 east of Long Barn in Tuolumne County and on Highway 4 in Calaveras County.
Heavy snow was reported in the Badger Pass area of Yosemite National Park.
Homes made a muddy mess
Residents of Guerneville in Sonoma County continued to grapple with the Russian River, which remained above flood stage after it crested earlier in the day at 42feet, 10 feet above flood stage.
The additional rain Sunday threatened to keep the river above flood stage at least until Tuesday morning.
At its highest level, water gushed into portions of the city, flooding an unknown number of homes but sparing the downtown area, Linda Eubanks of Sonoma County's Office of Emergency Services, said Sunday.
Officials continued to evacuate residents late Sunday.
Longtime residents Roger and Isa James raced up to their property from Southern California on Sunday but were too late to move their already-soaked ground floor possessions.
"Our friends said, 'Don't worry, don't rush,' but they guessed wrong," Roger James said. "But we look at the floods this way, that every 10 years or so, you are forced to clean up and toss out stuff that you don't use."
In the Marin County town of San Anselmo, about 20 miles north of San Francisco, streets were coated with mud as residents began the arduous task of drying out their flooded homes and business owners sifted through mounds of damaged goods as rain continued to fall.
"We got hit very hard. It's all pretty soggy and muddy up here," town Administrator Debbie Stutsman said Sunday. "People are shoveling out today."
A creek poured over its banks Saturday, flooding about 50 downtown businesses under some 4 feet of water, Stutsman said, adding that initial assessments put the damage at about $10 million. Two people rescued from the rising water there on Saturday were hospitalized with hypothermia.
Water level dropped Sunday in the Napa River at Napa, where the river reached 5 feet above flood stage, sending a surge of water into several blocks of downtown. By Sunday evening, the water was expected to return to near flood stage several miles upstream at St. Helena.
Napa officials estimated that 1,000 homes and an unknown number of businesses were flooded. A layer of mud and debris coated city streets Sunday.
The Napa River also inundated thousands of acres of wine country land throughout Napa County, officials estimated.
Saturday's storm dumped an average of 4 to 5 inches of rain in Northern California, with parts of Marin County recording more than 7 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of Napa County were drenched by up to 9 inches of rain in less than 24 hours.
In Southern California, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for areas left blackened by recent wildfires.
There were also high wind watches for the mountains and a surf advisory.
More than 600,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers from Bakersfield to the Oregon border experienced power failures during the storm.
About 175,000 customers were without power Sunday night after gusts up to 60 mph knocked down more lines and transformers.
"The magnitude of this storm is tremendous, it's widespread," said PG&E spokeswoman Jann Taber. "We have 1,062 crews in the field. We're working around the clock to restore power."
More rain is expected today and could be heavy at times, forecasters predict. That storm should pass by Tuesday.
Fog is expected to return in the Northern San Joaquin Valley on Wednesday and remain through the week, according to AccuWeather forecasters.
Bee staff writers Lorena Anderson and J.N. Sbranti contributed
to this report.