Flood Pictures

Klamath River Flood

These trees just east of Klamath River were surrounded by flood waters at a section of the river that covered the road during the worst of the December 31, 2005 flooding.

Klamath River Flood

Also just east of Klamath River, the swollen river churned as it swiftly flowed west, filled with dirt and debris.

Klamath River Flood

A Red Cross shelter at the Happy Camp elementary school was set up and maintained by Linda White, Morgan Caulfield, and other local volunteers.

Klamath River Flood

Just west of Seiad Valley dozens of hitherto non-existant waterfalls cascaded from the mountains toward the Klamath River, adding to the flood.

Klamath River Flood

Seiad Creek, usually a small, quiet tributary of the Klamath River, was so full it nearly reached the Highway 96 bridge that crosses it.

Too Much Water

January 2, 2006 - This New Year's Eve, the Klamath River Valley was inundated with far more rainwater than the river can hold.

On Friday, December 30, 2005 the Klamath River flooded low-lying areas of Highway 96 causing travelers to look for shelter in unexpected places. In Happy Camp a Red Cross shelter was set up at the local elementary school staffed by Linda White, Morgan Caulfield, and other volunteers. Displaced travelers were offered a hot meal, water, and a place to sleep.

Emergency services and law enforcement worked around the clock to take care of events which included multiple rockslides that closed local roads. Cal-Trans kept Highway 96 open as long as possible however deep water around Granite Point between Hamburg and Seiad Valley forced the closure of the Klamath River Highway at about 5pm on December 30.

Several cars ventured into deep water and stalled. Besides Granite Point, other flooded areas were between Hamburg and Horse Creek and on both sides of Klamath River.

Travelers whose car stalled in floodwater just east of Walker Creek Bridge had to wade out of the river in darkness to where other stranded motorists picked them up and took them to the church in Horse Creek. Mike Close, the new pastor there along with his wife Susan, gave shelter to five stranded Happy Campers and two travelers from Seiad Valley from Friday through Sunday.

Large-scale rockslides on China Grade Road closed that route entirely. Sergeant John Evans of Happy Camp's Sheriff sub-station took the Seiad Valley route to check on residents cut off by the rockslides. There are two families caught between the two slides, and three more homes further east between the slides and Seiad Valley.

As of January 2 the Red Cross shelter remains open at the elementary school although school is back in session. Another storm is expected and on Sunday night there was snow on Cade Mountain.

Though there was too much water in the river, there wasn't enough in storage for Happy Campers to use so the Community Services District had to put out posters asking local people to conserve on water usage. The tank on Elk Creek Road was half full and it was expected that more water would have to be pumped on Monday to avoid a shortage. As the water is normally pumped from beneath the creek bed and is naturally filtered, it was expected that contamination would not be a problem.

Now that floodwaters have receded slightly the Happy Camp River Access has a new coating of sand. We may now have a sandy beach instead of a rocky one. Stay tuned for photographs and more information. The Happy Camp News office is closed so our photographs can't be downloaded at this time.

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Happy Camp After
The December 30 Flood

Klamath River Flood

After the flooding receded in Happy Camp, the local river access seemed to be covered with a new sandy beach. Elk Creek Bridge is in the background.

Klamath River Flood

Another view of the local river access toward a sign that was destroyed by the flooding.

Klamath River Flood

A sign at the local river access and a box used by the forest service to provide rafting information were damaged by flood waters.

Klamath River Flood

The forest service asks that their river access and campground outhouses not be entered or used until after they've been cleaned, if they've been near the flood waters.

When There's A Flood,
Put Safety First

Happy Camp's Communications and Safety Officer, Phil Weeks, offers the following tips for personal safety during the days following the flood:

  • If power lines are down, don't attempt to touch them. Stay in your vehicle and don't touch metal. Phone Pacific Power for repair service. If unable to contact Pacific Power, contact the local fire department. If for some reason it is impossible to stay in your vehicle and you must leave the scene, keep your feet together and jump away from the area, don't walk.
  • After previous floods human bones have been found. If you discover human remains, including bones, do not touch or move them. Phone the Sheriff's Office as there will need to be an investigation of any such finds.
  • If you find barrels or boxes, don't open them. These too should be reported to the local fire department as they may contain dangerous materials such as poisons that have been disposed of then uncovered by the flooding.
  • Do not go into Forest Service outhouses if they have been near the floodwaters. They need to be cleaned first.
  • Stay away from the river as the riverbank, softened by floodwaters, can give way or trees could come down. Sinkholes could give way and small children could be lost in them. The riverbank may be undercut by floodwaters so while you think you're on stable ground, there could be little left there to support your weight.
  • Stay out of the water as floating debris such as trees can cause injury.
  • Do not drive into deep water. There is no way of knowing how deep the water will get before you reach the other end of the flooded area. Often cars stall in deep water.

More storms are coming in and while they're not expected to be as wet, temperatures are coming down and there may be snow. If there is more heavy rain after that, the river could flood again.

More On Safety
Near Flooded Creeks

The Sheriff's Office in Yreka sent these safety tips:

To help the public better understand the severity and danger involved with floods and high water, the following information can help protect citizens and possibly avert a tragic accident:

  • Flooded creeks and streams are unpredictable. Even though the surface water may look fairly smooth, the water is moving very fast. There will be debris or garbage in the water. These items can easily injure or trap a person under water.
  • Never let children play near streams or bodies of water when the water is rising or high. Swimming skills have nothing to do with surviving a flooded creek or stream.
  • Even though the water on roads and bridges might look only inches deep, it could be much deeper and have strong currents. The condition the surface of the road or bridge hidden benearth the water will not be known.
  • High water in streets and intersections will quickly stall motor vehicles. Most trucks, four-wheel drives and sport utility vehicles are also susceptible to being swept away by high water. Such vehicles often give motorists a false sense of security believing the vehicles are safe under any conditions.
  • Flooded streams and rivers are not safe for recreational boating.

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Garmin eTrex Summit GPS with Electronic Compass and Altimeter

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Canon 10x30 Image Stabilization Binoculars w/Case, Neck Strap & Batteries

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Scenic Byways of Northern California
By Marie Weisbrod

Visit the remote Northern California region from the Siskiyous to the Cascades. Meet the locals, learn the history, enjoy the landscape that includes whitewater rivers, old growth forests, and lava-strewn backcountry.

Wenger WG31210 Davos II 3-Pole Backpack Dome Tent

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