Heavy rain over the weekend swelled streams and rivers in Douglas County, causing flood concerns and landslides with more rainfall included in immediate forecasts.
As of Tuesday morning, more than 3 inches of rain had fallen at the Roseburg Airport in the previous 72 hours. Some Douglas County rivers increased water flow by more than 10 times what it was at the beginning of April.
The rain caused minor flooding near local streams and areas with poor drainage. Several larger rivers across the county elevated to near flood stage as they peaked Monday afternoon.
Rainfall also forced highway closures as debris and landslides blocked roads. Many schools were delayed Tuesday morning to mitigate difficult driving conditions.
Five stream gages in Douglas County reached action stage early Monday afternoon — the level that signals potential flooding — according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
Streams at action stage were Deer Creek at Roseburg, the North Umpqua River near Winchester, Elk Creek near Drain, the Umpqua River near Elkton and Cow Creek at the Galesville Reservoir.
Although the risk of major flooding was high, meteorologists correctly predicted that the rain would die down sufficiently Monday evening to avoid substantial damage.
“Some of them are starting to get close to it,” said Mike Stavish, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Medford, Monday morning. “We are expecting a little bit of additional rise on several of them, but none of them in the Umpqua (Basin) are forecast to get above flood stage.”
The U.S. Geological Survey on Tuesday reported a dramatic increase in water flow.
Water on Sunday morning was flowing less than 10,000 cubic feet per second at the Winchester Dam on the North Umpqua River. As of 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, water was flowing over the dam at 43,900 cps and was at a gauge height of 16.43 feet — a decrease from its peak of more than 18 feet late Monday night.
The biggest jump came on the main Umpqua River near Elkton, which as of April 2 was flowing at less than 7,000 cps. It was flowing at 118,000 cps as of 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, according to the USGS.
River flows on the South Umpqua River swelled over the banks and, as of Tuesday morning, was flowing rapidly past the Nichols Band Shell at Stewart Park.
Other significant river flows as of 10 a.m. on Tuesday were the South Umpqua River near Brockway (44,800 cps), the North Umpqua above Copeland Creek near Toketee Falls (8,920 cps) and Steamboat Creek near Glide (9,413 cps).
Stavish said the majority of the moisture in the storm system would begin to move east of Douglas County by Tuesday morning. The heaviest rain has occurred near the coast. Areas around Eugene and Cottage Grove experienced more severe flooding.
The American Red Cross also opened a shelter in Cottage Grove to help those who had to evacuate flooded areas.
The Weather Service is expecting light rain Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the county.