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More wet weather coming

H&N photo by Gary Thain
A uprooted pine tree blocks a road near the tennis courts at Moore Park Saturday.

January 1, 2006 by STEVE KADEL, H&N Staff Writer

The Klamath Basin enjoyed a reprieve from heavy rains Saturday as weather watchers braced for another storm due today.

“We're not seeing any flooding now, although we are seeing high water,” Dewaine Holster said Saturday afternoon.

The Chiloquin Agency Lake Fire District chief said neither the Sprague nor Williamson rivers had crested their banks. That prompted safety officials to pull back from setting up a command center in Chiloquin.

Holster has been monitoring water levels on the Sprague River from milepost 15 on Sprague River Road downstream to the Williamson River and on to Upper Klamath Lake. Projections show the Sprague could rise within a foot of flood stage today.

Anyone needing information about conditions should call 783-2470, Holster said.

“The potential (for flooding) is there,” he said. “The Sunday storm doesn't look like it has the moisture that Friday's storm had, but people need to be alert.”

Holster said one family in the Chiloquin area had moved out of their home as of Saturday due to flooding concerns. The couple, which he described as in their 50s, lives in a particularly low-lying area.

The fire chief said it is critical that anyone who evacuates their residence notify the local fire department. That's important so fire officials can account for where people are, and so they will be able to contact evacuees.

Holster said rain in Chiloquin Saturday morning turned to snow by 3 p.m. The snow melted when it hit the ground.

“The problem is all the warming and rain, and the ground is saturated in some places,” Holster said. “In some places the ground is frozen and water is just standing.”

Bill Thompson, Klamath County emergency manager, said standing water exists throughout the county “in all the usual places.” He urged motorists to seek alternative routes if they encounter questionable conditions.

Klamath Falls experienced a little of everything Saturday, from rain and brief snow showers to an occasional glimpse of blue sky.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for 1 to 3 inches of snow tonight in the Basin, and rain showers are likely Monday.

If Basin residents are fearful of being trapped in their homes by rising water, it wasn't evident at the Beatty Country Store on Saturday. Clerk Shari Willis said no one was stocking up on emergency supplies.

“People who live out here are used to snow,” she said. “We've had hail, snow and rain today. We just had some blue sky, if you can believe that.”

Willis said there was “real bad” flooding Friday on Bly Mountain. Few motorists had come through Beatty from that direction on Saturday, she said.

Interstate 5 was closed Friday between Hilt, Calif., and Ashland because of flash flooding and a series of landslides. Both lanes of the highway opened again at noon Saturday.

A spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation said one southbound lane of the interstate had backed up for 10 miles during the closure.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office rescued an elderly couple from their cabin along the Rogue River on Saturday. The man and woman, who were not identified, were trapped by high water and had no light or heat in their cabin.

The turbulent water prevented sheriff's personnel from reaching the stranded seniors by boat, Sgt. Pat Rowland said in a press release. Instead, a helicopter was used to evacuate both people safely.

The woman told sheriff's deputies she had lived more than 70 years without a helicopter ride, and was looking forward to the experience, Rowland said.




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

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