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Strong storm heads for North Coast

EUREKA- A strong winter storm is forecasted to hit the North Coast Wednesday bringing with it chances for mud and rockslides, downed power lines and flooding.

The storm is expected to bring up to six inches of rain across the region with wind gusts reaching up to fifty miles per hour across the coast. With the high winds comes the possibility of power loss to homes and downed trees. County officials are also watching rivers like the Eel and Van Duzen closely. Streams and local rivers are expected to exceed flood stage levels including: Van Duzen near Bridgeville, Eel at Scotia, Eel at Fernbridge, Navarro near Navarro and the Russian near Hopland. Caltrans crews will be working around the clock to monitor the situation and intervene if floods or slides occur.

“Caltrans crews will be out patrolling known areas, for instance of rockslides and flooding to be able to respond quickly,” Caltrans Public Information Officer Phi Frisbie Jr. said. “But we'll also be working closely with CHP so if motorists come across anything dangerous like a downed tree or flooding, please call 9-1-1, CHP will then contact Caltrans crews.”

Newton B. Drury Parkway in Prarie Creek Redwoods State Park and Howlan Hill Road in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park will close on Wednesday in midnight in advance of the storm. Both roads are expected to re-open by Saturday morning weather permitted.

Across the North Coast on Tuesday residents were filling sandbags to prepare for the flooding. In King Salmon, Rio Dell and Ferndale sandbags were readily available for residents.

Humboldt and Del Norte Counties’ Office of Emergency Services are encouraging residents to stock up on food, water and emergency equipment like flashlights if power does go out.

If major flooding occurs in your area, get to high ground. The full list of county preventative flooding recommendations is as follows:

• Prepare by collecting a supply of food, water, clothing, bedding, toiletries, and emergency equipment such as a flashlight, extra batteries, portable radio, and first aid kit. Obtain household bleach for water purification. Fill your car with gas.

• Collect any special needs such as diapers, baby food, formula, pet food, and drug prescriptions.

• Individuals should make sure that storage facilities are filled and that backup emergency power is available when possible.

• Farmers and ranchers should obtain animal feed and be prepared to move animals to higher ground in case of additional flooding.

• Collect sandbagging supplies and prepare sandbags.

• If you are on high ground, stay inside and listen to local radio/tv for evacuation routes and instructions. If you need to evacuate, lock your windows and doors.

• Watch out for washouts, fallen wires, fallen trees, etc. Do not cross flowing water (on foot or in a car).

• Be prepared for flash floods, which can happen with little or no warning. Have a plan and act at once when authorities give you information.