Storm causes minor flooding in Vernonia - KPTV - FOX 12

Storm causes minor flooding in Vernonia

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The Nehalem River rose six feet in less than a day, as the first major winter storm of the season rolled through Monday.

Police officers and Columbia County sheriff's deputies visited people living in low-lying areas to warn them of the possibility of flooding.

"I'm ready to go," said Mark Luciani, who is staying in an RV at Anderson Park, feet from the Nehalem. "Twenty minutes and I can be out of here."

Luciani said he spent the day prepping his RV in case he had to leave. He planned to spend the night checking river levels.

"I'm going to be watching, definitely," he said. "I might catnap every 10 minutes and come out here, as I've been doing every 30 minutes or so."

By Monday night, it appeared Luciani and his neighbors could stay put.

According to the National Weather Service, the Nehalem River crested near Vernonia at 13.39 feet just after 5 p.m. Monday and began receding.

Flood stage is 12 feet. In the winter, the river rarely drops below six feet, according to the city administrator.

That is well below the 19 feet the river reached in 2007, when Vernonia experienced devastating flooding.

But for some people, the rising water on Monday stirred memories of the 2007 flood.

"Every time I drive by and the river is up, if it's up to the chair, then I'm starting to get worried," said John Romaine. "And it's happened a few times, but then it always stops."

Romaine eyed a wooden lifeguard chair at Rock Creek, just off the Nehalem River. Water had climbed within inches of the seat by afternoon.

Copyright KPTV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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