The Tide Is High

  • Share
  • Read Later
GUERNEVILLE, California: Weather forecasters say the worst is over for the Northwest. Now, it is up to citizens of Oregon, Washington and California to deal with the water already on the ground, on the roof, and trickling down their living room walls. Rivers swollen by rain and melting snow have swamped roads and forced hundreds from their homes. Near Guerneville, 70 miles north of San Francisco, the Russian River had risen by Wednesday night to nearly 45 feet, 13 feet above flood stage. As it churned past the town, it carried tree limbs, old tires, shopping carts, a beer keg and bobbing propane tanks. Traffic signs peeked above muddy water, and all that could be seen of a miniature golf course was the top of a sign reading "Pee-Wee Golf." About 23,000 California customers and 34,000 Washington households remained without power Wednesday, down from a peak of 250,000, though many neighborhoods were still experiencing periodical outages. In Seattle, a gas station in the northern suburbs collapsed into a sinkhole. In central Washington, a snow-laden warehouse collapsed, releasing a cloud of ammonia and forcing the evacuation of more than 100 people nearby, though no one was hurt. And in the small town of Boston Bar, British Columbia, groceries and dairy products were flown in Wednesday to a community marooned after more than 150 slides, some 60 feet deep, closed the Trans-Canada Highway. Flood warnings remain in effect for dozens of rivers, and officials declared states of emergency in four Oregon counties, 19 Washington counties, and 17 California counties. As Monterey meteorologist Dan Keirns noted, "It's a happy New Year, if you're a duck."