© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Humboldt County declares local emergency after weekend flooding

Bear Creek Road, in the Southeast part of the county, was washed out by the storm.
Humboldt County Department of Public Works
Bear Creek Road in Dinsmore in southeast Humboldt County was washed out by Saturday's storm.

Tuesday's emergency proclamation is the first step in requesting state or federal recovery assistance.

Parts of far-Northern California received between 5 and 7 inches of rain over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service in Eureka.

In addition to flooding on the Mad River, there was significant flooding throughout Humboldt County from small creeks and streams. That led to multiple rescue operations and extensive damage to local infrastructure, including roads being destroyed and homes, businesses and farmland being flooded.

Ryan Derby, the county’s emergency services program manager, said they were surprised to get so much rain over such a short time period.

"We just haven't seen anything like this for a long time. Speaking with one of our local fire partners, he’s been with his department for 25 years and said he's never seen so much water in the county. So it's just kind of telling that this was a very abnormal event," he said.

With the proclamation of a local emergency, the county can now request state and federal assistance for recovery, which Derby estimates could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Humboldt County is working to categorize and collect damage assessments. Residents can report the level of damage to their property on the county’s Office of Emergency Services website.

Derby said the county can then work with the state to evaluate projects that might be eligible for state reimbursement.

Both Crescent City and Eureka broke their records for daily rainfall on Saturday. 2.81 inches of rain fell in Crescent City, and 2.45 inches of rain fell in Eureka, according to the NWS Eureka.

The height of the Mad River reached 27.25 feet, which is its third highest level on record.

The county's public works department is currently performing emergency road repairs and cleaning up debris.

Derby said this storm highlights the importance for residents to have flood insurance.

"It's incidents like this that are low frequency but high impact that really justify that monthly or yearly expense and getting that insurance. Because if you have an inch of standing water in your home, that could be upwards of $25,000 worth of damage," he said. "Having that insurance and filing a claim quickly is really the best and fastest way for residents to recover."

The region is also facing another storm this weekend, but Derby said it should be much milder than last weekend’s weather event. It's predicted to include rain and wind Friday through Sunday and some localized flooding on Monday.

Elsewhere in the region, the Coquille River in Southwestern Oregon is expected to return to the flood stage over the next few days.

Jane Vaughan is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. Jane began her journalism career as a reporter for a community newspaper in Portland, Maine. She's been a producer at New Hampshire Public Radio and worked on WNYC's On The Media.