Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.


Water swamps mobile home park

January 2, 2006


H&N Staff Writer

Marilyn McClintock has a good pair of boots, although they don't do her much good walking around Bristol Mobile Home Park these days.

That's because water standing on one of the park's streets is deeper than her foot-high boots. It covers speed bumps, too, and causes residents to creep along in their cars to avoid stalling.

“It's getting progressively worse,” the park manager said Sunday afternoon. “It's running under the trailers, which is what worries me.”

McClintock believes a ditch on nearby railroad property is plugged with debris, causing water from recent heavy rains to back up. She called American Sanitation Inc. to pump out the water, but one look at the situation convinced the truck driver it was futile.

“He said there was about a million gallons of water there,” McClintock said.

Her latest hope is asking railroad officials for permission to dredge the ditch with a backhoe. As of late Sunday, no real solution was in place for those living in the park at 3113 Bristol Ave.

Two tenants whose trailer sat in ankle-deep water considered themselves fortunate.

“A sheriff's deputy came out to look at it today and said ‘you guys have it good,'” said a woman who declined to give her name.

“It's not draining off,” her husband added. “We're in a low-lying area and there's no place for it to go.”

Low areas near the Sprague River were having problems Sunday as well. As of 1 p.m., the National Weather Service gauge at Beatty showed the river at 9.3 feet. Flood stage is 8.5 feet.

“What that means is those low-lying areas right next to the river may get some flooding,” said Dewaine Holster, chief of Chiloquin Agency Lake Fire District. “There are some places along the river where water is out of the banks.”

However, homeowners who have experienced flooding before built dikes prior to this winter. So far, they have prevented water from reaching any structures, Holster said.

“If one of those dikes breaks it could be a problem,” he said.

The river crested about 3 p.m. Sunday, according to weather service gauge readings at Beatty, and water had receded below flood level by evening.

Flooding of structures along the Sprague River and near the town of Sprague River, along with areas downstream, can be expected through today, according to Bill Thompson of Klamath County Emergency Services.

People living along the Sprague or Williamson rivers in the Chiloquin area should make plans to use sandbags or evacuate if necessary, he said in a press release.

Thompson urged people to be wary of utilities coming in contact with water. Citizens should report to utility companies any places where water and electrical lines are in contact, he said.

Klamath County Sheriff's Office deputies along with Klamath County Public Works and Chiloquin-Agency Lake Fire Department personnel were patrolling the Sprague and Williamson rivers Sunday.

“Deep water on roads continues to be a county-wide problem,” Thompson said.

The National Weather Service forecast for Klamath Falls called for snow showers Monday and again Tuesday night.

Click here to view the full story.
THE NEW YEAR'S STORM: Morning mayhem
by Nathan Rushton, 1/2/2006
Although many trees fell and some areas flooded, the city of Eureka saw no major injuries or fatalities as a result of the storm, according to city officials.

The biggest impact from the storm was felt by the Public Works Department, according to Eureka City Manager David Tyson.

“We were feeling pretty good until (Saturday) morning,” Tyson said. “It was the high winds that really got us.”

Tyson, who said he has seen other storms of similar magnitude during his 15 years with the city, said Eureka had not taken too much damage and acknowledged many other areas had been hit harder.

“We are keeping a watchful eye on the rest of the county,” he said.

Tyson said the city’s water and wastewater systems were of particular concern because of the power outages, which had left much of the county’s residents without power on the New Year’s Eve holiday.

At noon Saturday, Eureka’s Emergency Operations Center issued a news release advising residents that the city’s water distribution system was experiencing power failures and were running on backup power.

“During this time, please avoid unnecessary water usage,” the news release stated.

Earlier in the day, during the peak of the storm, city personnel were busy dealing with downed power lines, trees and related emergencies.

In a four-hour period, Tyson said the city emergency services received more than 500 calls for service and responded to 105 actual service calls.

By the afternoon, Tyson said the city staff were in a recovery phase and were trying to coordinate power and fuel resources.

Mercer Fraser Co. donated the use of a generator for the city’s use to provide electricity for key services.

Tyson said he was grateful for the donation and thanked Mercer Fraser for their support during the storm.

Amid all the emergencies, Tyson said there were reports of residents being involved within their community to help remove downed trees, with “human chains” formed to move the debris and limbs from the road.

With the power expected to remain off for much of the city, Tyson said he wanted to discourage residents from using candles and advised people to monitor their basements for flooding.

Residents with flooding problems can obtain free sandbags at the city lot at 15th and California streets, as well as at the city’s property at 14th and Short streets, Tyson said.

Tyson said the city was also experimenting with its new reverse-11 system, also known as code red, which allows the city to send out messages to the community to alert residents of dangers.

Suzie Owsley, public information officer for Eureka Police Department, said a small pickup truck traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 101 was hit by a falling eucalyptus tree, but no one was injured.

The downed trees forced the closure of the highway for most of the day and traffic was rerouted through Samoa.

In addition to other damage caused by the storm, signal lights in Henderson Center were out for most of the day and a traffic light at Fifth and E streets had fallen into the road.
Tyson Ritter/The Eureka Reporter
63-year Klamath resident Stace Fisher with his dog Angel. “This is the worst it’s been since 1955,” Fisher said.
It's not over yet: More rainfall expected in coming days
by Heather Muller, 1/1/2006
A combination of high winds, high tides and heavy rain pounded the North Coast again Saturday. The storm stranded travelers and brought traffic in the area to a halt behind downed trees and power lines. It also left some locals scrambling for higher ground.

Klamath was hit particularly hard, as the Klamath River crested at more than 47 feet Saturday afternoon. It was the second-highest level ever recorded.

“This is a no-holds-barred winter storm,” said Troy Nicolini of the Eureka office of the National Weather Service.

Local emergencies have been declared in Del Norte and Humboldt counties as well as a handful of cities.

But as bad as it is, the NWS said it isn’t over yet.

Carol Ciliberti, a hydrologist from the NWS, stated that flood warnings remained in effect on the Klamath River at Klamath and the Eel River at Fernbridge.

While all rivers have crested and are receding, Ciliberti said, there will still be enough rainfall over the next few days that some of the rivers may rise again.

Additionally, a coastal flood advisory is in effect for Sunday, with another high tide expected in excess of nine feet.

A high surf advisory has also been issued, with 18- to 20-foot waves expected through Monday afternoon.

A wind advisory was issued for this morning, as the next front approaches the coast with 25 to 30 mph sustained winds and gusts to 50 mph throughout Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

Also, a winter storm warning is in effect Monday for elevations above 4,500 feet. In Trinity County, a foot or more of new snow is expected in a 24-hour period. Ciliberti advised caution in the high country.

“There will be bad visibility and lots of wind,” she said.
But there might be a break in sight.

“Some of our medium-range models have been indicating a possible break for the middle of the week,” Ciliberti said, although she warned it would be short-lived, she said. “There’s more of a chance of rain again toward the end of the week,” Ciliberti said.
Heavy rain washes across state as residents start cleaning up

By Justin M. Norton, Associated Press
January 2, 2006

GUERNEVILLE -- The second major storm in two days washed across Northern California on Sunday, prolonging the threat of flooding as residents tried to clean up thick layers of mud and debris left behind as the first wave of floodwater receded.

Three more inches of rain in the already water-logged region Sunday pushed the Napa River back toward flood stage in the wine country town of St. Helena.

On Sunday, water topped a levee in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, forcing as many as 100 people to evacuate Twitchell Island. Along the Sacramento River near Collinsville in Solano County, several dozen people were evacuated as strong winds had thrashed water over the levees, 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," she said.

Hundreds of homes and businesses across the region had been inundated Saturday as heavy rain sent the Napa and Russian rivers spilling over their banks.

In many areas, the rivers and creeks were back within banks, though some towns remained flooded or flooded again as the rain, heavy at times, came and went throughout the day Sunday. The Sonoma County town of Guerneville was among those still fighting floodwater amid pouring rain.

At least 2 more inches of rain was forecast across Northern California on Sunday, on top of the 4 to 9 inches that already had swamped the region, the National Weather Service said.

"It's coming in wetter and windier than expected," said Arthur Hinojosa, chief hydrologist with the state Department of Water Resources.

Wildfire-damaged areas of Southern California also were under a flash flood watch and a threat of mudslides as heavy rain headed in their direction. In Pasadena, the Rose Parade's floral floats were being prepared for what could be the first rainy Rose Parade in half a century.

Massive mudslides kept road crews busy moving rock and debris that shut down Interstate 80 through the Sierra Nevada and other roads across the region.

In Guerneville, where the Russian River crested 10 feet above flood stage early Sunday, downtown largely was spared but low-lying areas and an unknown number of homes flooded, said Linda Eubanks of Sonoma County's Office of Emergency Services.

Officials were urging residents who had left to stay out for another day, and those who hadn't to evacuate. About 50 people were in emergency shelters, Eubanks said.

In spite of the flooding, Maureen Weinstein hosted a festive New Year's Eve party outside her Guerneville home -- muddy river water lapping just 10 feet away.

"We live through (floods) a lot," Weinstein said. "We're not that concerned this time because this year we have power and the Internet. I can monitor the water. It's wonderful."

In San Anselmo, about 20 miles north of San Francisco, streets were coated with mud, and business owners sorted through mounds of damaged goods Sunday, a day after 4 feet of water spread through downtown.

"We got hit very hard. It's all pretty soggy and muddy up here," said town administrator Debbie Stutsman. "People are shoveling out."









Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2005, All Rights Reserved