Blue Lake reflects on the abrupt winter weather flooding

The rain continues to pelt down across the North Coast – a sight that is usual for the winter months.

What is a bit more unusual is the amount of flooding over the weekend. One of the places impacted by the weather was Blue Lake causing concerns across social media.

“We did experience a large amount of rainfall in a short amount of time. We have a creek that runs through the city. Literally runs through the city. And then we have the [Lower] Mad River,” City of Blue Lake city manager Amanda Mager said.

Flood stage for the Mad River is 22 feet. On Saturday, it hit 26 feet, just shy of what’s considered a “Major” flood.

It’s still not as bad as 1964 when the Mad River crested at 32.7 feet. But over the weekend, powers creek was the main point of concern.

“It flowed over two of our pedestrian bridges. It didn’t top going through the main part of town,” Mager said. “But we did have a breach on hatchery road that had some substantial impacts that shut the road down and had a lot of sheeting across.”

Those impacts were felt not only on the surface in town, but across the internet.

“We just have this really strong bond to our community. The residents here are very connected to the community. People that grew up here are still very connected. We say ‘once a Blue Laker, always a Blue Laker,'” Mager said. “I had cousins from all over on social media like ‘How’s our hometown?’ they hadn’t lived here in 50 years, but it’s still kind of connected to your heart a little bit.”

The flood waters quickly receded, but the city is prepared for the worst.

“The thing with Blue Lake is we have a lot of capacity for a small community. We have a beautiful school that has a beautiful gym and a kitchen. We have a volunteer fire department that has capacity. And we do know that, in the event there is a large-scale disaster, Blue Lake is going to have to be able to take care of their own cause there’s a high probability that resources will be stretched then and we will be cut off from resources for a while.”

And that feeds into the need to build an in-town resilience as weather dynamics continue to change.

“We’re seeing the climate is changing and the impacts are swinging from one end to the other. Last year, we had snow,” Mager said. “As a community, we have to think about how to be prepared and build our own internal resiliency and as a small community, we are doing a pretty good job of that.”

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