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County under ‘state of emergency'
 December 30, 2005 

YREKA - Siskiyou County Sheriff Rick Riggins declared a “local state of emergency” for Siskiyou County at 5 p.m. Thursday due to existing and forecasted weather in the county. Western Siskiyou County is the most impacted with rivers and streams exceeding flood levels.

With rain continuing today, the local state of emergency remains in effect for the Klamath and Scott rivers. Both rivers crested early Thursday morning over “flood levels.”

The Klamath River crested at 8 p.m. Wednesday at 16.7 feet. Current flood level is at 15 feet.

At 15 feet, the Klamath River begins to flow out of its banks in some areas, flooding some low area structures. At 20 feet Highway 96 is inundated in low spots along the river with flooding likely at Scott River and Indian Creek. Considerable flooding occurs at 28 feet and major flooding at 33.8 feet with Highway 96 impassable.


Historical flood data puts Klamath River flooding in perspective. The river reached 28.72 feet in 1997, 22.8 feet in 1981, 29.65 feet in 1974, 33.75 feet in 1964, and 29.2 feet in 1955.

The Scott River crested at 2 a.m. Wednesday at 15.5 feet. The current flood level for the river is set at 15 feet, the point in which the river overflows its banks. Flood indicators for the Scott River are called an action stage at 12 feet, flood level at 15 feet, moderate flooding at 20 feet, and major flooding at 25 feet.

Historical data for the Scott River shows flooding at 23.47 feet in 1997, 20.52 feet in 1981, 23.67 feet in 1974, 25.34 feet in 1964, and 21.4 feet in 1955.

The National Weather Service's forecast is that the Klamath and Scott rivers will remain under flood warning through Saturday but should fall below the flood monitoring level by late Friday night. However, a strong moisture frontal system is approaching the region and conditions could worsen if it brings more rain than anticipated.

The exact wording of the National Weather Service forecast is as follows: “A strong storm will continue to bring heavy precipitation to Southern Oregon and Northern California today through tonight. Many rivers in the area are already swollen from previous rainfall. Heavy rain and high snow levels associated with this system will result in additional runoff and increase the flood potential through Saturday.”

While Western Siskiyou County watches the rivers rise above flood state, almost everyone else in the county is feeling the impact of the wind. The National Weather Service has issued a “high wind warning” for Siskiyou County for today and tomorrow.

“A strong low pressure system moving into the Northwest will produce strong south winds over the area later tonight through Friday,” the warning states. “The south end of the Shasta Valley near Weed can expect south winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph through Friday night.”

A high wind warning means that winds of 40 mph or greater are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. As usual, extra caution is required when traveling on Interstate 5 between Yreka and Mount Shasta.

Sustained wind speeds of 40 mph or greater and gusts of 58 mph or more can also lead to property damage.

Besides heavy wind, early morning travelers encountered snow this morning. Chain control went into effect on the Siskiyou Summit and on Highway 97 over Snowman's Hill between Mount Shasta and McCloud. It was also snowing in Mount Shasta and Weed this morning although it is anticipated it will turn to rain as the day progresses.

Rain and snow is forecast throughout the weekend with snow levels at about 5,000 feet.

Sandbags are available at Dunsmuir City Hall in Dunsmuir.

Flood warnings remain in effect for both the Klamath River and Scott River areas.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department/Office of Emergency Services has been coordinating with the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Forestry, Red Cross, Caltrans, and local police and fire departments.




Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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