What’s that about a drought?

Written by Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate February 17, 2014 02:43 pm

County’s heavy rain is expected to stick around awhile

Water seeps onto Highway 197 on Friday.
Water seeps onto Highway 197 on Friday. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Del Norters asking “have you ever seen the rain?” earlier this month may be singing “who’ll stop the rain?” by Sunday.

The past three days, drought-stricken Crescent City has been hammered with 6.48 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, and 3-5 more inches could fall today.

“That has been related to this atmospheric river that has been impacting the Pacific Northwest,” said Kathleen Lewis, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Eureka. “We’re going to see the effects of it through the weekend.”

Gasquet got 8 inches of rain the past three days.

The front will be headed by winds ranging from 25–35 mph with gusts of up to 50 mph along the coastal headlands, Lewis said.

A wind advisory has been set from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and a gale warning is also in effect with crests of waves rising 10–15 feet around 10 seconds from the coast to 60 miles out.

Standing water encroaches on the south side of Highway 197 on Friday as the Smith River rises on the other side.
Standing water encroaches on the south side of Highway 197 on Friday as the Smith River rises on the other side. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
With all that rain, Lake Earl swelled enough for the County Board of Supervisors to call an emergency meeting Thursday to unanimously vote to breach it.

Fort Dick resident Don Gillespie, who vocally opposed the breach  at a January supervisors meeting because of concerns about parched nearby wells, supported the move this time.

The lake was breached Friday, the same day that the Smith River  rose by 10 feet, reaching a 29 foot peak before it began to lower by 6 p.m.

“We’ll take a look at it tomorrow to see if it touches monitor stage,” said Lewis. “No critical levels are anticipated to be reached.”

Come Sunday, the rains will taper off, lending the sky to spotty sunshine throughout the day.

But, by next week, still more rain is in the forecast.

It’s a far cry from last month,  the driest January in recorded here.

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