Local News – Flooding and power outages

The Mapleton Branch of Siuslaw Bank, under water following a major storm this week. (photo submitted by Siuslaw Bank)

Heavy Wind and Rain Pummeled the Central Coast…

The highest recorded wind gust was 113 miles an hour, recorded yesterday in Charleston and nearly three inches of rain fell in the Florence Area. Mapleton remains under a flood evacuation notice and Highways 126, 36 and 38 are closed because of high water.

Storm weary residents are no doubt tired of the wind and rain that has been pounding the central coast this week. There is some relief in sight, but not for at least another 24 hours according to forecasters.

Power to most of the Florence, Dunes City, Reedsport and Mapleton areas has been restored according to Central Lincoln PUD’s Gary Nieborski. “Well, right now we’re kind of to the point where we’ve done the major triage, we’ve got the largest amount of our customers back on, now we have a lot of ‘single taps’ that trees have gone through” Nieborski said, adding that the major areas of concern still include the Canary Road area, North Fork Road, some areas in Dunes City, Heceta Beach Road and the lakes area to the north.

For residents that may be without power… he’s urging patience. “For those people, plan on at least another 24 hours. Especially with the wind. We’re having stuff that we put up last night is down again because of more trees.”

There have been relatively few outages in the Mapleton area. That’s a good thing he said, as crews won’t even be able to think about heading that direction until flood waters begin receding.

Lane County Emergency Management issued an evacuation notice for Mapleton area residents early this morning, urging them to leave immediately as river levels were rising quickly.  In fact, by shortly after 8 AM Highway 126, three miles east of Florence was closed when water reached 3-feet deep beneath the railroad bridge.

Just a fraction of the debris flowing down the Siuslaw River as near-record flooding struck following a major storm.


Later this afternoon traffic began to flow slowly, but as of 3:00 officials were still allowing only high profile vehicles through.  Their concern was that if a lower level car or SUV were to stall in the water, it would block traffic until a tow truck could remove it, potentially blocking the highway to emergencies for up to an hour.

The river level at Brickerville, 3-miles upstream from Mapleton began climbing this afternoon and is expected to crest at just below 30 feet tonight.  The historic high, set in 1996, is 30.2 feet.  More closures are expected at high tide late this evening, then tomorrow again at mid morning.