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Storm swells streams, snowpack

A pickup truck sits in a flooded ditch near Oregon Institute of Technology this morning after its driver ignored a road block during the night and ended up in deep water. More than 1.5 inches of rain fell in Klamath Falls over the past two days.

Published Feb. 18, 2004


Heavy rain soaked the Klamath Basin for a second straight day Tuesday, bringing streams and rivers to life and sending runoff spreading across roadways in the city of Klamath Falls.

Weather observers at the Klamath Falls Airport recorded .81 of an inch of rain Tuesday. That, combined with Monday's .62 of an inch, created a two-day total of 1.43 inches, or more than 10 percent of the city's average precipitation of 13.05 inches for the entire year.

Another 12 inches of new snow fell Tuesday and overnight at Crater Lake National Park, bringing the on-ground total to 147 inches. The snow included the equivalent of 1.36 inches of liquid precipitation.

Rainfall totals through 7 a.m. today ranged from .02 of an inch in Lakeview and .14 in Alturas to .63 in Tulelake, .92 in Keno, 1.27 in Chemult and 1.62 at Howard Prairie.

A plugged drain beside Industrial Park Drive near Oregon Institute of Technology caused water to back up and create a temporary pond across the street. A pickup became stuck in the ditch after its driver tried to drive through the pond and ended up off the roadway.

In the Lower Klamath Basin, the rain was even heavier. Happy Camp got 5.2 inches between 8 a.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday. The downpour caused the swelling of many of the streams and rivers that feed the mainstem of the Klamath.

Larry Jacobs, a technician at the National Weather Service's Medford office, said the storm system that caused the rain has now moved to the east.

Another storm system should be rolling in Friday, but it shouldn't pack the wet punch that the last one did.

"That one came up from the south-southwest, so it had a lot of moisture in it," he said.

The mountain snowpack in the Upper Klamath Basin climbed today to 138 percent of average. It had been 125 percent on Monday.

The flow of water in the Williamson River at Chiloquin was measured at 10 a.m. today at 1,030 cubic feet per second, up from 811 cfs on Monday.

With the storm system now past, puddles around the Basin should be shrinking over the next several days. But that doesn't mean rain and snow has completely gone away.

The Weather Service is calling for rain and snow showers throughout the rest of the week.

This week's wet weather nearly erased a precipitation deficit Klamath Falls had as recently as Sunday, when cumulative rainfall lagged well below the average for the water year.

The city has received 3.32 inches of precipitation since Jan. 1, a half-inch over the average of 2.88 for the period. The total for the water year, which began Oct. 1, is 7.4 inches, close to the average of 7.93 inches.

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Reporter Dylan Darling covers natural resources. He can be reached at 885-4471, (800) 275-0982, or by e-mail at ddarling@heraldandnews.com.

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