No respite from wind and rain

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Local News

Heavy rains and high winds not expected to subside

After more than two solid days of high winds and plenty of rain, the Central Oregon Coast is not expected to catch a break until early tomorrow morning.

The National Weather Service has issued yet another high wind warning. This one will be in effect until 4 AM Wednesday.

South winds of 25 to 40 miles an hour; along with gusts of 50 to 60, are expected in coastal communities with stronger winds along the beaches and at headlands.

The Weather Service says to expect two periods of strong winds today… between ten AM and five PM; then another late this evening and into early morning.

Today’s two storms come on the heels of two more between Saturday and Monday that brought 80-mile an hour gusts at Sea Lion Caves and more than three inches of rain in Florence over a 48-hour period.

Wind-blown trees destroy area home

Nine people were evacuated from their home north of Florence early yesterday after a tree fell on their manufactured home.

Siuslaw Valley Fire Chief Jim Langborg said the home, in the Buck Lake Area sustained “significant damage” and was uninhabitable. The family of nine were taken to the main fire station where Red Cross Volunteers were waiting to assist them with temporary lodging.

No injuries were reported.

Florence couple facing multiple sex charges

An investigation concerning possible “inappropriate” photographs involving juveniles has led to the arrest of a Florence man and wife.

Lieutenant John Pitcher with Florence Police is calling the case one of the “most complex sexual abuse cases” local authorities have ever faced.   Pitcher said there may be several victims involved, in more than one community.

43-year old Gregory D. Cater is facing charges of rape and sodomy in the 2nd degree; sex abuse 1; using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct; and encouraging child sex abuse 1. His wife, 44-year old Doreen Elizabeth Cater is facing charges of rape and sodomy in the 3rd degree; sex abuse III; using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct; and encouraging child sex abuse 1.

Pitcher said they will not release any further information about the ages of the victims in order to protect their privacy.

Flood watches remain in effect

Concerns of flooding on the Siuslaw River and its tributaries diminished somewhat overnight, but may renew themselves later this week.

The Siuslaw River rose 11 feet in just over 12-hours yesterday before it crested at 18.3 feet just after noon yesterday. It fell rapidly… about four feet… by six this morning. It continues to fall this morning but at a slower rate.

Stream levels in other tributaries… Hadsall Creek, Sweet Creek, and Lake Creek also fell slightly, but continue to run at or near bankful.

The North Fork of the Siuslaw River had also spilled over into pasture land in several areas yesterday afternoon.

A flood watch remains in effect until Thursday morning as more significant rainfall is expected.

Rescue at sea

Coast Guard crews from Newport and Astoria responded to the report of a “mariner in distress” Monday morning off the central Oregon Coast.

The MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter from Newport located the 22-foot sailing vessel 17-miles west of Cape Perpetua. 22-foot seas with wind gusts of up to 57 miles an hour were reported.

When the helicopter arrived on scene, the 67-year old man, wearing a survival suit, jumped overboard and was hoisted to safety by a rescue swimmer.

The man, whose identity was not released, was evaluated by medics and reported to be in good condition.

Video of the rescue can be viewed here.

Tumultuous transition in forest management

The former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service will be in Florence next week to talk about a book he has written about the “tumultuous transition” he experienced in the federal agency. Jim Furnish spent 34 years with the Forest Service; seven of those as the Supervisor of the Siuslaw National Forest.

Jim Furnish – “My book, the memoir, Toward a Natural Forest includes a couple chapters related to my years on the Siuslaw and I think I try to share some of the inside story of what kind of changes occurred; how, why, who were the key players and what the outcomes were. And then it really tries to cast a vision for the future of our public lands in the United States.”

The Siuslaw National Forest saw some of the most bitter battles over Old Growth logging in the Pacific Northwest. But, a shift towards ecological restoration has since made the Siuslaw a “model for conflict free” management.

Furnish will speak at a special event presented by the Sisualw Watershed Council on Tuesday, December 15th from six to eight pm at City Lights Cinemas.

Be wary of landslides and debris flows

Intense rainfall… like we’ve been experiencing over the past several days… can bring another hazard. Bill Burns, an engineering geologist at the Oregon Department of Geology, says “it’s important to be aware of the potential hazard” of landslides and debris flows.

Already there have been several minor slide along roads and highways all over Western Oregon. Burns said people, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk.

Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides that can easily travel a mile or more, transporting boulders and logs in a fast-moving soil and water slurry. They can develop after several days of sustained and intense rainfall.