UPDATED 12/15/16 at 5pm: From the Point Arena Facebook page: The Garcia River is currently at 15.5 ft. It is not forecast to fall to a level low enough to open Highway 1 until late tonight or early Friday morning. Port Road in Point Arena is now open but please exercise caution as there is still some minor flooding.
4pm: Caltrans has announced that flooding is closing roads all around Mendocino County with no estimated time of opening. Right now Rt. 1 is closed at the Garcia River (post marker 18 - 18.5), and "A half-mile of route 175 near the junction with U.S. Highway 101 in Hopland in Mendocino County is closed due to flooding." Caltrans also posted: "Not to be outdone by the Garcia River, the Navarro River has closed Route 128 in Mendocino County for a ten mile stretch near the junction with Route 1." We'll be updated info when it becomes available.
11am: The National Weather Service has called off the flood watch for Humboldt and Del Norte counties, but a flood watch is still in affect for Mendocino and Trinity counties and heavy rain is expected to continue Thursday afternoon. Small streams and low-lying areas are expected to flood, as well as the main stem of big rivers, including the Eel, the Navarro, and the Russian, where water levels will continue to rise even after the rain has stopped due to runoff from earlier rains. Highway 128 may later be closed due to flooding. Please take caution on the roads! You can read our most recent road conditions report here and we will update this information as it becomes available.
MENDOCINO Co., Dec. 13, 2016 — The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning beginning at 12pm Tuesday, Dec. 13 and lasting until 4am Friday for low lying areas of Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity counties due to an atmospheric river and a series of storm systems moving through the region. A hazardous weather outlook and wind advisories are also in effect for the area, as well as high tide and gale warnings along the coast.
Rain totals up from three to six inches are predicted, with six to nine inches of rain possible in the coastal mountains, with the heaviest rains in the highest elevations. The heaviest rainfall will be taking place Tuesday evening until Thursday evening, and peak river flows and possible flooding are expected to occur Thursday afternoon through Friday morning. Rock slides and wind gusts are expected, and snow is also possible above 4500 feet. The snow level may drop to 2000 feet elevation from Thursday through Saturday and inland travelers can expect to see light snow at pass levels.
Small streams and creeks will be particularly affected, and residents are warned to keep an eye on areas with poor drainage. Water may pool on low lying roads with poor drainage. Small streams and the main stem of some rivers may also see some flooding. Rivers expected to reach flood stage include the Eel River at Fernbridge and Scotia, the South Fork of the Eel at Miranda, and the Russian River at Hopland. More rivers may be added to the list as flooding approaches, check here for continuous updates in your area.
Residents should be particularly careful approaching roads submerged in water and watch out for rocks and slides on mountain roads. Please use caution while driving in these conditions and do not attempt to drive through water without knowing the depth. Highway 101 is still closed near Piercy due a slide this past week although Caltrans crews have been working on clearing the road. You can see current road work across the county in our update here.
Some cities may have sandbags available for residents, we will be updated this information as it becomes available.
Along the coast, high tides are expected through Dec. 15. due to the perigean spring tides, which is when the moon is full (or new) and closest to earth. The NOAA Facebook page states: “This may cause some minor coastal flooding in low areas around Humboldt Bay and along the coast from about 1 hour before to 2 hours after the morning high tides. The highest tide levels of the week are expected on Wednesday, when the combination of increasing southerly winds and waves and run-off from heavy rainfall over land may combine to produce more substantial coastal flooding. Coastal residents should continue to monitor the forecast at weather.gov/eureka.” Residents of the Mendocino coast should also monitor local road conditions in anticipation of flooding.
You can get an hourly weather forecast by going to the NOAA website and entering your specific location. Updates will also be posted on the National Weather Service Eureka Facebook page, on Twitter, and on NOAA radio. The Mendocino Voice will be updating road hazards and flood warnings as they are available, and you can search for local weather stations near you at the Weather Underground. You can also check the CHP page for current traffic incidents and Caltrans for current road conditions before heading out.