Smith rises 14 feet during storm

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate October 02, 2013 03:43 pm

A pickup left on a gravel bar emerges as the river goes down.
A pickup left on a gravel bar emerges as the river goes down. Del Norte Triplicate / Adam Spencer
Record-setting rain falls, but area mostly unscathed

Despite record-setting rainfall in Crescent City and the Smith River’s rapid  rise of 14 feet in less than 24 hours, the first big storm of Del Norte County’s rain season did not cause many problems for area residents.

“We skated pretty well,” said  Jeff Daniels, Del Norte County road superintendent. Besides a couple downed trees and a couple plugged culverts, the storm did not have a significant impact, Daniels said.

Gasquet received 6.16 inches of rain from Saturday evening to Monday morning; 5.76 inches of rain were recorded at the Dr. Fine Bridge (Fort Dick/Smith River); and in Klamath Glen, 5.36 inches of rain were reported, according to figures from the California Department of Water Resources.

The Smith River at the Jed Smith gauge in Hiouchi climbed from 5.48 feet with a 482 cubic feet per second flow at 4 a.m. Sunday morning to a peak of 19.55 feet and a 40,000 cfs flow by 4 a.m. Monday.

A truck parked on a Smith River gravel bar just upstream of the water tower was completely covered with water Monday morning, with the truck’s cab slowly becoming exposed as the river dropped.

The lower Klamath River  peaked at 14.84 feet and 23,100 cfs at 11:15 a.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

At the Camp Six Fire Lookout off French Hill Road, 9.76 inches were recorded over the weekend. In 1982, there were 255 inches of rain recorded at Camp Six, one of the highest yearly totals ever recorded in the Lower 48 states.

In Crescent City, 2.62 inches were recorded from Saturday to Monday, with 2.36 inches recorded on Sunday alone — a Crescent City record for that date.

Jane Christmas, a Gasquet-based official weather spotter for the National Weather Service, recorded 2.75 inches of rain from 8 p.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Monday morning.  Christmas said tree debris was scattered throughout her yard.

“This storm was extremely irregular. There were very large, heavy drops and a lot of it all at once,” Christmas said.

Two separate trees-in-the-power-lines incidents knocked out power for 80 customers Sunday night through early Monday morning, one near Railroad Avenue and another near Old Mill Road, according to Pacific Power.

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