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County braces for deluge Print E-mail
Written by Don Iler, Pilot staff writer   
February 12, 2014 09:20 am

Courtesy of the National Weather Service An infrared satellite image measuring water vapor (red/pink) shows bands of heavy precipitation heading toward the Oregon Coast at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
 

A series of powerful storms today through Saturday are expected to dump 7 to 10 inches of rain and may flood low-lying areas, creeks and rivers throughout Curry County. 

The first storm, which began Tuesday night, will bring rain and high winds, followed by another storm Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. 

A high wind warning from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. today was expected to bring gusts of up to 65 miles per hour. 

The windy weather will continue through Saturday, with gusts of up to 25 mph Thursday through Saturday.

By Saturday, Brookings could received 6 to 7 inches of rain, with up to 10 inches falling in the mountains, said Ryan Sandler, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Sandler compared the approaching storms to a storm that struck Brookings in November 2012, which caused stream and river levels to rise to flood stages, causing the evacuations of several homes and RV park residents.

The county is monitoring the situation and ready to distribute sand bags as needed, said Don Kendall, Curry County emergency services coordinator. He said people should be aware that flash floods, ponding on roadways and earth movement could happen. 

Gary Millman, Brookings city manager, said city public works crew members were cleaning drainage ditches and culverts throughout town. Debris clogging up storm drains and flooding streets and private property tends to be one of the biggest problems when a rainstorm strikes. 

“We have all of our equipment serviced, fueled and ready,” Milliman said in an email. “We will have public works employees on call tonight.”

Brookings Police Department will monitor drainage during their patrols this week and will notify public works of problems. If citizens spot a problem, they can call Brookings Police Dispatch at 911 or 541-469-3118. Those in the county should call the Sheriff’s Office. 

Milliman said the city has sandbags on hand to protect public and private property, which can be filled quickly by city employees and volunteers. Many local businesses also have sandbags available for purchase too. 

The rain will cause stream and river levels to rise, with flooding possible. The Chetco River is expected to rise from 4 to 18.83 feet by midnight Wednesday. The Chetco River’s action level is 18.5 feet, water levels above that can cause flooding. 

While the storms will bring much needed rain to reservoirs further inland, the snow level is too high to drop any snow in the mountains. The rain and warm temperatures could melt what little snowpack there is in the Coast Range and Cascades, which could exacerbate drought conditions in the summer when snowmelt provides water for rivers. Sandler said the Rogue basin has only 28 percent of its normal snowpack and the Siskiyous have only 10 percent of normal snowpack. 

Next week is also expected to bring wet weather, with more rainfall and colder temperatures.

 

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