Residents in low lying areas along the Chetco River are being rescued from their homes this morning, and the Brookings-Harbor School District has closed campuses today after the latest storm dropped more than five inches of rain overnight, causing small streams to overflow and pushing the lower Chetco River out of its banks.
Schools in the area were closed for the day because of transportation issues. Several homes along both sides of the Chetco are surrounded by water. Many others were trapped by slides and runoff across roads and driveways.
The crest of the flooding on the Chetco is forecast for 4 p.m. today, about the time of high tide.
"I've never seen the water that high up there," said Curry County Sheriff John Bishop as he supervised rescues and evacuations at AtRivers Edge RV Resort.
Traffic along North Bank Chetco River Road was being restricted to 4-wheel drive vehicles from Azalea Park to Riverside Market, which itself was flooded. Vehicles were banned from areas under the Chetco River Bridge.
"The City of Brookings took most of the damage," Bishop said. "Mountain Drive is a mess and there's a slide across both lanes of Donald Road."
The National Weather Service reports that the Chetco River is expected to crest about 4 p.m. Tuesday, about the same time as high tide. The forecast crest is two feet higher than last January's flooding.
While rain is still in the forecast for the next several days, the heavy rains from overnight are not predicted to come back. The Pilot's downtown weather station measured 3.2 inches on Monday and 2.5 inches since midnight today, with peak gusts of more than 40 mph.
The Pilot's downtown weather station recorded a total of 5.7 inches of rain over Monday and through 8 a.m. Tuesday.The heaviest downpours were between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Monday and again between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. Peak gusts of wind were consistently over 30 mph throughout the storm, with a high of 46 mph at the Pilot about 2 p.m. Monday.
A weather observer reported more than 9 inches of rain to the National Weather Service. A National Weather Service spokesperson told the Pilot that its equipment at the Brookings Airport is not accurately recording rain, and is due for repairs in the next few weeks.
Carpenterville Road remained closed this morning, according to ODOT. For the latest highway conditions, go to ODOT's website at www.tripcheck.com.
The city of Brookings reported this morning that storm runoff has pushed the wastewater plant to near capacity. It reached a peak about 7 a.m. at approximately 11.5 MGD flow rate and right now is just over 10 mgd.
"The Water Intake is inaccessible. I have the intake generator shut down via computer and the water plant generator shut down manually at site due to power being out at 10 of our sites. The reservoirs are full at this time," said Raymond Page, the city's treatment supervisor.
Page said, "Speaking with the National Weather Service earlier, their initial estimates are that the Chetco River will peak at approximately 25 ft with the high tide this afternoon. The river peaked at around 22 ft last January when the houses on the river side of the road got flooded. I have let Jim Watson (Brookings assistant fire chief) know already about it."A power outage was reported overnight along the North Bank Chetco River, but as of 7:30 a.m.there were reports of powered being restored, Page said.
At 10 p.m. Monday night, before the bulk of the rain fell, the city was already reporting problems in the community. City Manager Gary Milliman sent an email to the Pilot that read:
"Heavy rains tonight resulted in several major street flooding events and damage to private property. The Public Works and Treatment Plant crews, as well as the volunteer Fire Department, Police Department, Tony Baron and Jordan Fanning from the PW/Planning office staff responded to about 20 significant calls for service due to street flooding and building flooding on Ransom Avenue and Chetco Avenue. At least one residence on Ransom flooded. The Napa Auto Parts store and an adjacent shop building flooded. Water levels reached within a few inches of the front door of Fred Meyer. Water was over the curb at several locations along Chetco Avenue and the Railroad/5th Street intersection was impassable. The Fire Department reports a partial roof collapse at the Rush Center. Crews were clearing a large amount of debris on Old County Road near Marine Drive. Crews are now filling sandbags in anticipation of the next wave of rain. The National Weather Service reports that we should expect additional periods of heavy rain through 5:00 a.m. The new Civic Center drain performed well, although we did have a build-up of water in the parking lot behind the building. ODOT responded, placed "high water" signs on the highway and left."
Reports of minor and major flooding is being reported all over the county. Pilot reporters will be out in the community momentarily checking on flooded areas and providing updates on the storm and related damage. Check back soon.