Hoopa and Klamath residents moved away from
the swelling Trinity and Klamath rivers
Friday, anticipating flooding that could close
roads and threaten homes.
State Route 96 was expected to shut due to
flooding, but by afternoon Friday, mudslides
had already shut the road between Hoopa and
Orleans. U.S. Highway 101 was closed due to a
massive mudslide that dumped up to 15 feet of
muck on the main route out of Humboldt County.
State Route 299 shut down near Douglas City,
but was expected to be open again today.
Northern California braced for the fallout
from inches of rain that fell Friday, rain
that promised to push nearly all major rivers
to flood stage and above. The latest of storms
this week stalled over the region, dragging it
out and bringing heavy surf and
”That's not helping,” said Nancy Dean,
meteorologist in charge at the National
Weather Service. “We've just got a lot of rain
coming down here.”
Damage estimates are trickling in. Humboldt
County roads have been hammered to the tune of
$2.3 million, said county risk manager Kim
Kerr. Extensive, but untallied damage to roads
in Rio Dell should rise well above $500,000,
Humboldt County's Department of Emergency
Services wants residents to report damages,
Kerr said. With a disaster declaration
expected to be ratified Tuesday, it's possible
that compensation will be available through
the State Natural Disaster Assistance Act and
the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Eel, the Klamath, the Mad, the Van
Duzen and the Trinity rivers were expected to
spill their banks. The worst flooding was
expected in Hoopa, where the National Weather
Service is predicting the river will rise to
47 feet -- 4 feet above the level on New
Year's Day 1997 but 10 feet below the massive
flood of 1964.
While some Hoopa residents abandoned homes
along the river that runs through the Hoopa
Valley Reservation, others weren't overly
Willie Colegrove lives next to the river
across from the Hoopa High School. By Friday
afternoon, he began to see sand bars appear
again as the river fell about 5 to 6 feet from
Thursday's peak. He said everyone is watching
the river, but he wasn't concerned about his
home 50 feet above the river.
”It can hold a lot of water yet,” Colegrove
The county Department of Emergency Services
is working with tribal emergency services. The
Red Cross reported no requests for assistance
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was still
storing water in Trinity Reservoir, and was
only releasing 1,500 cubic feet per second
from Lewiston Dam. The lake is not full, so no
spike in releases was planned.
”It's storing a heck of a lot more water
than it's letting downstream,” said
reclamation spokesman Jeff McCracken.
As of 2 p.m. Friday, about 20 people had
been evacuated from RVs along the Klamath
River, Del Norte County sheriff's officials
said. A state of emergency has been declared
in Del Norte County. Areas along the Smith
River were not expected to flood.
The Red Cross has set up a shelter in Rio
Dell, where about 60 trailers were hauled away
from the River's Edge RV park. Cots and
overnight facilities are available at Monument
Middle School. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are
being served at Eagle Prairie Elementary
School in Rio Dell.
Garberville officials on Friday were asking
the county for authority to distribute sand
bags to individuals. That town had potable
water delivered Thursday after concerns were
raised about the safety of its water supply
during Eel River flooding.
Bottom land ranchers in Arcata, Loleta and
Ferndale were moving cattle to higher ground
Power outages were reported by the Pacific
Gas and Electric Co. at King Salmon, College
of the Redwoods and the west side of Humboldt
Hill. About 1,020 customers were affected, and
PG&E had no cause of the outage or an estimate
of when power would be restored.
Humboldt Fire District personnel were
planning to go to King Salmon and Fields
Landing to show people how to shut off
utilities in preparation of extreme high tides
expected Saturday and Sunday.
Hatchery Road in Blue Lake was washed out,
along with a power pole that has since been
Hatchery Road resident Kristen Lark said
her home is not at a low point and she doesn't
expect to be flooded.
”Technically we are in the flood plain,”
she said, “but I'm not too concerned.”
Lark said she's more worried that increased
traffic on narrow West End Road -- which she
has to take through Arcata just to get back to
Blue Lake -- will make that road more
dangerous than usual.
Around Ferndale, some low-lying areas again
braced for flooding from the Eel and from
Francis and Williams Creek. But by Friday
afternoon, no one had shown up to get sand
bags from Nilsen Co.
”It hasn't quite got to that point,” said
manager Ryan Nilsen.