DH flood 1

There wasn't quite enough dry ground to drive on and not quite enough water to float in. So this car waits for either a drought or a tow truck, whichever comes first. The unidentified driver of the car apparently missed the edge of the road and drove into a ditch along Looney Lane near Linn-Benton Community College this morning. Rain Monday night filled ditches to capacity and then kept on falling.

The following article originally ran in the Tuesday, Jan. 15, 1974, edition of the Albany Democrat-Herald.

"Continued rain, heavy at times."

That's the official weather forecast for the mid-valley today, even if it is an oversimplification.

Pressed for an explanation, Maynard Rogers, weather service specialist at Salem Municipal Airport, said it means there is a potential for as much rain tonight as there was Monday night through this morning -- rains of up to a quarter of an inch an hour.

Albany recorded 2.98 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m. today. That is the heaviest 24-hour downpour in Albany since 4.28 inches recorded Jan. 28, 1965.

The rain brought closure of several rural schools and left hundreds of mid-valley families with water in their homes and water too deep for them to get to work.

Albany Mayor Platt Davis called a special city council meeting for 4:30 this afternoon to consider the problems. Not only were many Albany streets flooded, but there were reports of raw sewage backing up into homes because of overloaded sewage lines in areas where storm water gets into the lines.

Knox Butte Grade School reported water in the gymnasium and primary classrooms. Principal Terrel Repp said it will take a full day after water goes down to clean up, so he was uncertain whether school would be able to open Wednesday.

Jefferson public schools were closed because high water blocked bus routes, particularly in the Talbot area.

Grand Prairie, Griggs and Sandridge-Plainview grade schools also were closed. Buses were late on routes serving Harrisburg and Scio schools.

The rain caused many hazards for motorists. City crews were busy posting warnings throughout the city for water as high as two feet above road level.

State police and county sheriff's deputies reported high water over most roads within the county.

A mudslide covered part of Scenic Drive in North Albany, but was cleared this morning.

State police officers were forced to use chains on a four-wheel drive vehicle to travel a washed-out dirt road near Sweet Home.

River forecast center in Portland estimated river crests at three feet above flood stage on valley streams. The crest on the Santiam River at Jefferson is expected to be about 18 feet at midnight tonight. Flood stage is 15 feet.

Willamette River at Albany rose from 11.55 feet Monday morning at 7 a.m. to 17.11 by that hour this morning and had climbed to 18.73 feet by noon today.

The Willamette River is expected to crest at Albany at about 27.7 feet Thursday morning. Flood stage is 25 feet at Albany.

River forecasters said the storm was much heavier than had been anticipated, with measurements exceeding two inches in the past 24 hours throughout the valley.

Rainfall at Foster Dam east of Sweet Home was 2.76 inches and at Holley the rainfall was three inches, sending the Calapooia River out of its banks.

County health officials said there shouldn't be much health hazard from properly sealed wells. However, if wells are not sealed and there has been a chance for surface water to get into the well or pump, drinking water should be chlorinated or boiled.

To chlorinate water, put 10 to 12 drops of 5 percent chlorine solution (standard household liquid bleach) per gallon of water and let stand for at least half an hour before using.

Gordon McNeil, assistant county sanitarian, said after the December 1964-January 1965 floods, his office found contamination in about a third of the rural wells tested.

This week's flooding is not expected to be nearly as severe as that 100-year-level 1964-65 flooding.

At least 50 roads were washed out in Benton County and Marys River flooded residential areas of Corvallis. A fire truck drove through 3-foot-deep water to evacuate 15 families from an apartment house complex.

The Philomath fire station, library and at least six businesses were flooded.

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