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The section of La Porte Road that was undermined by Thompson Creek. Photo by Jacky Trotter

Storm aftermath updates

2 p.m.: A Caltrans representative told the Board of Supervisors today, that Caltrans is hopeful Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon could reopen Sunday or Monday, Feb. 19 or 20, assuming the next storms don’t inflict much more damage. A series of five back-to-back storms is predicted to start this Thursday and continue through next weekend. However, the volume of rain is predicted to be less than what was experienced last week.

Joe Backwell, of Plumas County Public Works, told the supervisors on Tuesday that Quincy-La Porte is the only road still closed in the county due to damage caused by flooding. Thompson Creek eroded a hole in the road that is 25 to 35 ft deep and 25 x 100 ft in size. The county removed the washed out culvert last Thursday to keep parts of it from washing downstream and endangering other culverts.

7:45 a.m.: Highway update: Highway 70 remains closed from Jarbo Gap to the Greenville Wye.  Highway 89 from the Greenville Wye to Canyon Dam is now open, but has one-lane controlled traffic in some locations so prepare for delays. Highway 89 through Clio is now open.

The Quincy office of the California Highway Patrol announced that some of its resources have been deployed to help with the Oroville Dam evacuations.

1:15 p.m.: Flood waters are receding throughout Plumas County and, as they do, local officials hope to be able to better assess damage. Representatives from the sheriff’s office, CHP, public works, the health care districts, the state’s Office of Emergency Services, the local departments of public and environmental health, and elected officials gathered in person and via phone just before noon today to share information. The hardest hit areas during this storm were Eastern Plumas and Indian Valley, with access still limited and some homes still underwater.

There is no reopening date for either Highway 70 through the Feather River Canyon, or Highway 89 from the Greenville Wye to 3 miles south of Crescent Mills. Caltrans crews can’t assess the Canyon damage until flood waters recede, but on Highway 89 it’s a different issue. Crews have assessed the damage, but it will take awhile to complete the repairs. Engineers have determined that culverts have failed and there is significant erosion under the roadway.

11:15 a.m. Sheriff Greg Hagwood announced that there is now an OES Type 3 team in Plumas County to assist with identifying needs and accessing resources. He and other county officials are working out of the Emergency Operations Center at the courthouse annex in Quincy monitoring events throughout the county. He said that luckily there was “no deterioration” overnight. This morning a large shipment of sandbags was delivered to Nervino Airport in Beckwourth.

11 a.m.: Highway closures remain in effect at the following locations: Highway 70 is closed from Jarbo Gap to the Greenville Wye; Twain residents can access Quincy.

Highway 89 remains closed from the Greenville Wye to 3 miles south of Crescent Mills, and is also closed in Clio, though there is a detour available.

One-way controlled traffic remains in effect on Highway 70 just west of Portola and also on Highway 89 three miles north of Greenville.

3:27 p.m.: Highway 70 has reopened at Sleepy Pines in Portola to one-way controlled traffic.

3:17 p.m.: A rumor spread that there was a sewer system failure in the Delleker area, under the jurisdiction of Grizzly Lake CSD (Community Services District). According to Operations Supervisor Jared Recasens, “This rumor is untrue. We have had many, many concerned callers today asking about the sewer ponds, and I’d like to reassure the public that there is no failure. We are actually gaining freeboard at the ponds. Freeboard is the term used to define the space between the top of the water and the top of the levy, and right now we’re at about 10 inches below the levy.” Crews are pumping around the clock to ensure that sewage stays under control. “The drinking water is safe, and there are no failures. A key part of our current success is the fact that we really prepared pre-weather event for the possibility of flooding, and it has served us well,” Recasens said.

2 p.m.: The following update has been provided by the California Highway Patrol.

SR-70  is now closed at the Sleepy Pines Motel on the west side of Portola due to flooding.

SR-89 North is closed, at the Greenville Wye due to a mud and rock slide at Indian Falls. The roadway at this location is also eroding from underneath and it is very treacherous.

Caltrans is still in the process of assessing damage, and working to open an access route that would be strictly for residential and emergency access and not for general travel. There is no anticipated time for this.

Sr-89 North is now open to one-way traffic between Greenville and Canyon Dam.

SR-70 is closed from the Greenville Wye to Jarbo Gap. Caltrans reports that the roadway near the Shady Rest Area is currently under approximately 4 to 6 feet of water. Also, there is a large mud and rockslide in the Belden area. Caltrans advised that residents of Twain are being allowed to travel (sparingly) to and from the Quincy Area.

The CHP is asking that residents minimize or, if at all possible, forego vehicular travel at this time. The roadway conditions are volatile and are continuing to deteriorate. Please do not bypass closures, or drive up to closures to see if the road is open or take pictures.

When crossing standing water please reduce your speeds and do not stop. Never cross running water or flooded areas if you do not know how deep it is. Again, please minimize all travel.


1:14 p.m. Highway 70 west of Portola is down to one-way, controlled traffic due to flooding.

10:30 a.m.: Sheriff Greg Hagwood reports that an Air National Guard helicopter will be based at Gansner Airport in Quincy to be available for emergency evacuations for Indian Valley residents. Currently, Highway 89 is closed at Indian Falls before Crescent Mills and at the passing lanes north of Greenville before Canyon Dam. The helicopter will also be used for damage assessment.

The Sheriff reported that Bucks Lake overflowed yesterday and continues to spill into Lower Bucks and the Grizzly Forebay causing problems at the lower end of the Canyon.

The sheriff reports that his office has been inundated with phone calls, most pertaining to flooding throughout the county. An emergency services coordinator from the governor’s office is working with the sheriff to assess the damage and coordinate services.

Sheriff Hagwood said that contrary to social media reports, there is no need for Portola residents to boil their water.

The river in Portola is continuing to rise and is expected to crest tonight with the potential to close the highway.

9:52 a.m.: The CHP reports that residents of Twain are now able to leave and access their residences via Highway 70 east.

9 a.m.: Leaving or gaining access to Plumas County is increasingly not an option. According to the CHP, the only route still open is from Highway 70 through Portola, and that could be in jeopardy as well, as the river continues to rise. Highway 70 through the Feather River Canyon continues to be closed with no estimate of reopening. Highway 89 is closed on both sides of Greenville, again with no estimate of reopening. In the event of an emergency, 4-wheel drive emergency vehicles could access the area from the Chester side, but it is completely closed south of Crescent Mills. Highway 89 is also closed at Clio. County Road A-24 is closed and Highway 49 is being assessed by Caltrans.

8:23 a.m.: The CHP reports that the Greenville area is an island with Highway 89  closed in both directions.

16 thoughts on “Storm aftermath updates

  • Damage to personal property because road department diverts water from a drainage culvert without maintaining the ditch that carries the water away. Who’s responsible?

  • Thanksfir the update…….I called the sheriff’s Dept. last night, and they said Twain had NO evacuations. My 18 year old Son and his 17 yr old cat lives up there in the canyon off Hwy 70. They had to evacuate and go to East Quincy. Now WHY would the sheriff’s office say that. I’m in AZ and was calking to see if my son was alright. I think I was lied to.

    • Really? Lied to? Do you realize how remote all of this is. People do not walk around with GPS tracking devises targeted to the Plumas sheriffs department. They Snd all other emergency personnel are doing all they can 24/7. It is all of our duty to be prepared and as self suffice to as possible as well S ready to have a game plan and help others.

      • Darn Right.

    • If I lived in Twain, I definitely would have evacuated yesterday! Perhaps it was advised but not required. Hwy 70 was closed and they were isolated last night.

    • There were no formal or required evacuations! If residents felt they needed help to leave that was completed but they had the option. If they were in immediate danger then the priority would be to get them to safety.

  • Who’s responsible?
    Mother Nature obviously.

    • Mother Nature enraged by human caused Climate Change.

      • Yeah. Uh huh. Same as the drought.

        • Uh, yeah, same as the drought. Climate change causes EXTREME WEATHER. Going from a huge drought to a huge flood is about as extreme as it gets…

          • Yup, and it’s been changing for thousands of years.
            More tornadoes = climate change.
            Less tornadoes = climate change.
            More hurricanes = climate change.
            Less hurricanes = climate change.
            Lots of rain = climate change.
            Drought = climate change.
            Warm winter = climate change.
            Cold winter = climate change.

            Where does it end?? Spare me please!

            But the man caused part is what gets me most.

            If you believe in that you’ll probably also go along with the world is flat, Hillary Clinton is hot, Bill Clinton has never been to Pedophile Island, Liz Warren is an Indian, Chuck Schumer loves Trump, Meryl Streep isn’t batschiddt crazy, and Madonna is a virgin.

      • Oh puhleeze. You libtards never pass up an an opportunity to try to throw humanity under the bus. These tropical storms show up in Plumas in 10 year (approximate) cycles. There was one in 1986, then 1997, then the next one was skipped (right at the height of so-called global warming, but it never got that warm), and now it’s back in 2017. The earth’s climate is in a constant state of flux and has been since well before humans could have possibly had any influence on it. Grow up and shake the mush out of your noggin.

  • Uh, yeah, same as the drought. Climate change causes EXTREME WEATHER. Going from a huge drought to a huge flood is about as extreme as it gets…

    • Yup. droughts usually end with rain.
      A huge flood? ah no. Last week we saw something more in line with a ten year event. January 2007 was the last one if my memory is correct. 86 and 97 also come to mind but those were larger.

      Is fun to know that probably the worst flooding in recorded Plumas County history was in the winter of 1862. Darn near washed away the town of Nelson Point and flat removed all the bridges in the county at that time. Blame that on climate change? Well, alright. It must have been all those darn 49ers and their SUV’s.

  • yup, things have been changing forever. It is the “Rate of Change” that we have affected. To think that little things do not add up is being naive or ignorant. An example is that every drop counts. So your logic based on a very small sample size of time is most likely going to be limited in scope and likely to draw the wrong conclusion. Check out the book ” Water in the West” where it deals with thousands of years not centuries.

    lots of people= change

    something like 99% of the people who study climate effects agree that people are affecting the climate

    Try looking at the facts, doing some research and not being sarcastic with your words.

  • 99%? Serious?? Reality check badly needed.

    I spent more of my time reading about all those proven falsified weather data studies, solar cycles and atmospheric moisture levels and overall planetary cloud cover. Recall the now widely disproven hockey stick graph? Or silly Al Gore who invented both the internet and global warming? No doubt New York is going under water and most of Florida is already gone right? It’s enough to make a grown man gag.

    Grandfather lived his entire life in Plumas County and always said the weather was always way worse when he was young. Trust me, he was never in a panic so I’m more inclined to believe him than you. Ice core studies of ancient atmospheric CO. levels don’t seem match your (or Al’s) thinking either.

    Third drought I can recall in just my short lifetime and Just one of many big storms. It is a small window of time I agree but am I really ‘sposed to think the sky is falling and we should blame it all on people and unregulated cow farts?? Sorry…

    Although it was indeed a long dry spell I also recall a near equal drought in the mid 70’s. Our weather still looks fairly normal to me and Human caused climate change is not a bandwagon I’m willing to hop onto. Humans are certainly breeding like flies on ol’ planet earth I agree. Reached seven billion souls last October. Might be a good idea to start focusing some attention there? You do whatever you want Frank.

    But I’m sure we both agree the climate is indeed changing. With exception of a mini ice age in the middle ages it’s generally been getting warmer since the last ice age 11,700 years ago. My guess is will continue to do so for quite awhile longer, no need for all the doom and gloom. Doubt me? Then it’s your turn to quit watching CNN and actually dig further into the facts and do some more research.

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