PACIFIC COUNTY - Occasionally torrential rainfall, high tides, and some man-made drainage problems have brought flooding of unusual proportions to our area.
Total rainfall in January was about 16 inches, according to the rain gauge at Jack's Country Store in Ocean Park. It's difficult to say whether the Peninsula as a whole set a precipitation record for the month, since a storm that drops four inches of rain on one Peninsula community may sprinkle another with only an inch or two.
According to Washington State University Long Beach Research and Extension Unit records, the center of the Peninsula received a record 111.49 inches of rain in 1968 and only 30.63 inches in 1929. To beat 1968's annual record, six additional months of 2006 would need to equal January's total.
Brighter days allegedly are ahead, with the forecast calling for a long period of dry, sunny weather starting Sunday and lasting through at least Feb. 14. But until then, rain and wind storms are expected to continue.
Water fills many yards and streets throughout the Peninsula and nearby areas of South Pacific County, though a brief dry spell permitted drainage ditches and pumps to gain an upper hand over flooding in some areas.
Heavy rain, driven by winds gusting near 50 mph, has found any tiny openings that may exist in home siding and window sills. Meanwhile, completely saturated ground is causing wet basements and shifting hillsides.
Area highways have suffered substantial damage. As of Tuesday, a detour remained in place on U.S. Highway 101 in the vicinity of Butte Creek in North Pacific County, where a portion of road dropped about a foot on Jan. 20.
Work also continued on US 101 near the Pacific-Grays Harbor county line, where part of the roadway has settled about three feet since Christmas Day. Seventeen horizontal drains are being installed to relieve pressure and slow hillside movement at that location.
A mud slide closed State Route 4 near Cathlamet on Jan. 30. Work continues there. (See story on Page A2.) Motorists traveling east from the coast are advised to take Oregon Highway 30.