The same flooding that occurred Wednesday
throughout Northern California is expected to
happen all over again beginning Saturday.
The Eel River is expected to crest again at
Fernbridge, rising to 5 feet above flood
level, again threatening low areas in Loleta
and Ferndale. The lower Klamath River is also
anticipated to jump above flood stage. High
tides and storm surge will likely swamp areas
of King Salmon, Fields Landing and possibly
south Broadway in Eureka this weekend,
Redwood Creek in Orick and areas in
Southern Humboldt like Rio Dell and Myers Flat
-- where dozens of travel trailers were moved
from alongside rivers -- are also bracing for
another series of storms.
A day's respite from the rain allowed area
rivers to drop Thursday, but a slow-moving
storm had begun to drop rain by that
afternoon. About 2 to 5 inches is expected by
the end of the weekend. More rain is expected
”There's nowhere for it to go,” said 1st
District Supervisor Jimmy Smith.
The Humboldt County Sheriffs Department's
Office of Emergency Services is being staffed
around the clock after the sheriff declared a
state of emergency Wednesday. That will be
considered for ratification at Tuesday's
Humboldt County Board of Supervisor's meeting,
which would send the declaration to Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and begin the process of
possible reimbursement for damages from
County risk manager Kim Kerr said that at
least $1.7 million in damage to county roads
has been recorded. Some communities like Rio
Dell have estimated around $500,000 in damage.
Kerr said residents that have experienced
property damage should inform the county for
possible reimbursement in the future. That
number is 268-2500.
The U.S. Coast Guard, the California
Department of Forestry and the California
Highway Patrol are planning to assist local
agencies this weekend.
Dozens of people have been relocated with
help from the Red Cross. That organization has
opened a shelter at the Rio Dell elementary
school that can accommodate 75 people. By 3:30
p.m. Thursday, the shelter already held 57
people, and the Red Cross was looking into
opening another shelter.
Rio Dell's water supply was fine as of
Thursday afternoon, said interim city manager
Jay Parish. Parish said he felt that the
county and local agencies were handling the
situation in an organized manner. But he
wasn't letting down his guard.
”The river hasn't gone down as much as I
hoped it would,” Parish said.
Elsewhere, people assessed the damage.
Ferndale City Councilman Ken Mierzwa took a
first-hand look at the community, saying the
situation was more of the same, “the usual,
flooded fields and closed roads.”
A shallow lake extended from Centerville
Beach to Meridian Road, said Mierzwa.
Six inches of silt rested on Port Kenyon
Road on either side of Francis Creek, he said.
Residents right outside the city limits
expressed frustration, as their homes were
nearly flooded and huge silt deposits from
Williams Creek inundated their yards.
Lynette Matyshock has lived on Ambrosini
Lane for 35 years, and said flooding has
gotten far more frequent since area farmers
began building dikes to protect pastures from
flooding by Williams Creek. Silt has filled in
the channel, and poor drainage into the Salt
River doesn't help. Agencies have ignored the
problem, she said.
”Because there's no channel it's almost
like it's creating its own channel right
toward my house,” Matyshock said.
Matychock spent Thursday removing mud with
a tractor and a shovel -- and expects she'll
have to do it all over again Saturday.
Residents of Garberville have been asked to
conserve water use in what has become an
almost annual request. The town's filtration
system is overworked and often has to be shut
To the north, the Klamath River forced the
closure of U.S. Highway 101 and State Route
169 for a few hours. Klamath Fire Chief Lonnie
Levy expected that Saturday's storm would
again close those roads. About 25 travel
trailers were moved from campgrounds near the
Klamath River, he said.
But on the whole, things aren't too bad, he
”Knock on wood, everything's running very
smoothly,” Levy said. “We were kind of ahead
of the curve on this one.”
Del Norte County emergency officials were
also considering a disaster declaration
Thursday, as were several other Northern
The Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said a
total of about 130 houses were without power
on Wednesday, following 1,700 outages on
Tuesday. PG&E reported that all power had been
restored by Thursday.