UPDATE: Highway 101 is closed at the Hooskenaden Slide 12 miles north of Brookings after torrential rain caused the grade to sink.
Traffic may be rerouted along Carpenterville Road, however, if drivers must be aware there are areas of gravel road and places where the road is merely a single lane.
Drivers are urged to use caution and allow for additional travel time if you plan to use the alternate route.
More than a foot of rain in Brookings — and more than 18 inches in the hills surrounding town — has fallen over the area in the past four days, leading to mudslides, road closures and flooded culverts, ditches, creeks, roads in low-lying areas throughout the region.
The “atmospheric river” began its onslaught in earnest Friday with high winds and torrential rain. The system extended south through Del Norte County and north into Coos County, with Curry County receiving the brunt of the weather.
The system was so severe and widespread, the National Weather Service even gave it a name: Winter Storm Ryan, which is slowly moving east into the Cascades and Rocky mountains. In some places in the Sierra Nevadas and through Montana, 5 to 10 feet of snow is forecast to fall.
The storm is predicted to subside tomorrow, with a 20 percent chance of rain Wednesday, National Weather Service reports indicate.
According to Curry County Roadmaster Richard Christensen, central Curry County was hit the hardest, with flooding and slides on Hunter Creek Road, forcing it to close Sunday night until it reopened Monday.
“No vehicle could get through,” he said. “And I’m sure there’s slides in the Agness and Illahee areas, and we’re expecting Lobster Creek Bridge to close with the high waters on the Rogue.”
The Rogue River in Gold Beach is expected to crest in connection with a high tide at 3:30 Monday afternoon. The road to the airport there is closed due to flooding in low-lying areas.
Additionally, water pouring off Thompson Creek and Gardner Ridge roads on North Bank Chetco River Road was resulting in flooding situations Monday morning.
“All staff is on storm patrol throughout the county,” Christensen said. “We’re cleaning culverts and ditches and taking calls as fast as we can trying to keep up with the workload. There’s a lot of work going on.”
The Chetco River had 32,800 cubic feet per second (cfs) pouring down its channel Monday morning. The maximum it had ever seen on that day was in 2009, when 12,000 cfs was measured. The gauge at Second Bridge was at 17 feet, a foot away from flood stage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey that has a system posted there.
Travel in the entire southwest corner of the state is precarious and discouraged, with severe weather having brought down trees and power lines, according to state transportation officials.
As of 9:30 Monday morning, the following roads were closed:
• One-lane traffic is reported 6 miles north of Langlois
• U.S. 101 south of Bandon at Four Mile, and travel is restricted in low-lying areas of town where a foot of water was reported,
• U.S. 101 south of Crescent City at Last Chance Grade reopened to one lane at 8 a.m. Monday after a slide there,
• I-5 between Sutherlin and Cottage Grove due to heavy snow, downed trees and powerlines. Nine inches of snow was reported in Eugene,
• Oregon 42S between Coquille and Bandon due to a landslide
• Oregon 138 West between Sutherlin and Elkton
• Oregon 38 west of Elkton between mileposts 29 and 37
• Oregon 138 east between mileposts 17 and 60, east of Glide to West Toketee, and
• Delays are expected due to small slides on Oregon 42 in Coos County .
Drivers should be prepared for delays and severed winter driving conditions in Southwest Oregon, forecasters said.