Although the rain-swollen Klamath River is receding after several days of steady rain, Del Norte County officials are bracing for the next series of storms expected to pummel the North Coast this weekend.

Flooding on the river peaked early Thursday morning, but the rising waters caused some voluntary evacuations and minor damage.

National Weather Service officials are calling the mouth of the Klamath River “ground zero” for the combination of high tides and heavy runoff currently being experienced along the North Coast.

At the town of Klamath, just a few miles from the river’s entrance to the ocean, the river crested at 40.42 feet — 6 feet above flood stage — at midnight Wednesday, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

The last time the river significantly flooded was in January 1997, when the river rose to more than 45 feet following a series of tropical storms that dumped heavy and warm rain across the region, which melted the snow pack, according to National Weather Service data.

A state of emergency for Del Norte County was declared Thursday due to flooding on the Klamath River and several of its tributaries, but officials said they are in a “hurry up and wait” period in anticipation of more rain expected to hit the area tonight.

Allen Winogradov, emergency services coordinator for the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, said the declaration of a local emergency resolution for the county was passed Thursday during a special session of the Board of Supervisors.

Local infrastructure damage to roads and sewer systems was the basis for the declaration, with debris removal being the biggest expected financial impact, Winogradov said.

Although sections of highways 101 and 169 were temporarily closed Wednesday night, county law enforcement officials are continuing to monitor roads and are expecting them to be closed again when waters rise again Saturday.

A command post set up for local, county and state law enforcement and emergency services agencies is in place north of the town of Klamath to coordinate flood relief efforts, according to Lonnie Levi, the fire chief for the Klamath Fire Department.

With the help of the fire department, approximately 25 families, along with their mobile homes, were moved out of low-lying areas along the river in voluntary evacuations that were completed prior to the peak flood Wednesday, Levi said.

“There were some travel trailers that were inundated and I am sure that some vehicles that didn’t get moved had water in them,” Levi said.

More than 1,200 people live in the town of Klamath, but the majority of the town’s residents were not affected by flooding, according to officials.

Martin Kelly, public affairs officer of the Del Norte Chapter of the Red Cross, said the agency had provided motels in Crescent City for two displaced Klamath residents Wednesday.

The Red Cross is watching the weather conditions and are ready to handle more evacuees if needed, Kelly said.

“If the situation arises, we will be opening a shelter,” which can accommodate up to 100 people, Kelly said.

The Yurok, California’s largest Native American tribe, has approximately 5,000 tribal members who live along the Yurok Reservation’s lands that extend out one mile on each side from the mouth of the Klamath River upriver 44 miles.

The Yurok Tribe’s Public Relations office reported that the conditions among the tribe’s residents are improving following the flood’s peak, but that the tribal council was holding safety meetings and preparing for more rain, as well as working in collaboration with the Del Norte County agencies.

“Right now the river is receding and unless there is a great big change in the weather it looks like we are out of the woods today,” said Joe Galeoto, the Yurok Tribe’s Chief of Public Safety. “After that, we’ll have to see.”

Initial surveys of the flood area by Yurok tribal officials determined that no homes or permanent structures were significantly affected by flood waters.