Rain, wind to pick up again

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate December 03, 2012 05:33 pm

Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson The remains of one of three redwood trees that fell Thursday on Highway 199.
Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson The remains of one of three redwood trees that fell Thursday on Highway 199.
Despite Crescent City’s dousing of more than 4 inches of rain on Thursday (a record for the date), there were very few storm-related troubles around Del Norte County.

But with rivers already running high and soils saturated from Thursday’s storm, the next round of torrential rainfall this weekend might be problematic.

A flood watch will be in effect from tonight through Sunday morning for the North Coast as a strong Pacific storm is expected to dump another 2 to 4 inches of rain on Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity counties. Seven to 10 inches of rain are possible for favored terrain like south- and southwest-facing mountain slopes.

The Klamath and Smith rivers are both expected to reach low monitor stage, but not flood stage.

Strong winds will accompany tonight’s rain with gusts reaching 40 to 50 mph on coastal headlands and gusts up to 60 mph above 2,000 feet.

“The main message we want to get out is that these are not good driving conditions,” said Brian Caffrey, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Eureka office. “Avoid traveling unless you really have to and give yourself more time if you do drive” because of the possibility of impassable roads from floods or fallen trees and limbs.

Three fallen redwood trees just east of Walker Road closed U.S. Highway 199 on Thursday night for almost two hours, but the road was cleared quickly.  

On Friday evening, a slide south of Hamilton Road on U.S. Highway 101 closed one lane of traffic for less than an hour.

Del Norte County roads superintendent Jeff Daniels said that his crews stayed busy throughout Thursday night and Friday morning unplugging culverts and dealing with some flooding on Fred Haight Drive, but that’s normal this time of year.

“We didn’t have any major slides so infrastructure held together,” Daniels said.

Some short-term flooding occurred on Front Street, 4th Street and 5th Street in Crescent City due to storm drains that were at capacity from the heaviest period of rainfall, but the drains caught up when the rain let up, according to city officials. From 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, 0.85 inches fell in just an hour.

Scattered power outages affected 20 customers Thursday, according to Pacific Power.

“It wasn’t as bad as we anticipated.  The county road department and Caltrans kept everything together really well,” said Commander Tim Athey of  the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office.

We’ll see if the second storm is just as harmless.

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