A Mercer Fraser Co. crew rescues a stranded hiker near the Eel River this morning. Officials are warning of more flooding to come as rain continues to fall this week.
With more rain in the forecast, officials are warning that the Eel and Van Duzen rivers are expected to crest their banks as low-lying areas of the county flood on Tuesday.
This weekend’s storm, which dumped between 4 and 5 inches over the last 72 hours, left a Fortuna woman stranded with her two dogs this morning as the Eel River rose around her. Ultimately a Mercer Fraser Co. construction crew used a front loading tractor to cross the 4-to-5 foot deep flooded area and carry the woman and her canine companions to safety at about 8 a.m.
“She probably could have walked across,” said Fortuna Volunteer Fire Chief Lon Winburn, whose agency assisted with the rescue. “But it's a good thing she called us just in case. There was no current because it was just back water.”
The weekend's rainfall left multiple rivers and some roads flooded, and the area is expected to receive another 3 to 5 inches of precipitation this week.
National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Charboneau said the two rivers with the largest flood danger are the Eel and the Van Duzen. Additionally, about 10 roads are currently closed due to flooding, with more expected as the rain continues to fall.
“People should be very aware that there is a high amount of water on the roads,” Charboneau said.
The Eel River is expected to reach about 20 feet by tomorrow afternoon and, by evening, the river is expected to pass flood stage and increase to 23.6 feet. The Van Duzen River is ex-pected to reach 18 feet, a foot above its flood stage.
According to the National Weather Service, “record river levels are expected with disastrous flooding throughout the Eel Delta. Most roads will be impassable including (State Route) 211 to Ferndale, and access will be severely restricted. All persons should take action to protect life and property.”
Charboneau said that between the rainfall and tomorrow’s high tide, some low-lying areas of Humboldt — like the Arcata bottoms and King Salmon — will see some flooding from both rain and tides.
Humboldt Bay Fire Battallion Chief Chris Jelianek said there have been no serious accidents or mudslides from the recent rainfall, but he says tomorrow may be a different story as more flood-ing is expected.
“We have been pretty lucky so far,” Jelianek said.
We are expected to gather another 2 to 3 inches tomorrow. The rain is supposed to slow down Wednesday before picking up again later in the week.
CalTrans spokesperson Myles Cochrane said there was a flood on State Route 254 through the Avenue of the Giants and the road is closed but expected to reopen to controlled traffic at around 5 p.m. today.
“Its best that people check their route with CalTrans before traveling,” Cochrane said.
Roads currently closed from flooding:
Redwood Drive at bluffs
Dillon Road between Riverside and Goble Lane
Goble Lane between Dillon and Fulmor
Goble Lane between Fulmor and Sage
Goble Lane between Sage and State Route 211
Fulmor Road past Goble Lane
Port Kenyon Road