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Grants Pass area cleans up from weekend storms

Heavy rain Sunday created havoc around the region, flooding streets in Grants Pass, sending mud across North Applegate Road east of Murphy, and causing two rock slides on Galice Road.

The Rogue River crested well below flood stage, but numerous small streams jumped their banks, and water made driving hazardous along Leonard Road, Redwood Avenue, Upper River Road near Fort Vannoy School, Baker Park, Reeves Creek Road in Selma and many other spots.

The largest slide, a half-mile downstream of Galice, blocked the road completely with rock and debris.

Josephine County Public Works Director Rob Brandes said crews had to be pulled back from the scene Monday because the slide area along the Rogue was too dangerous. Rocks continued to slide down Monday afternoon.

The road could be closed for a few days, Brandes said, depending on when work can begin. An engineer was going to look at the slide Tuesday.

Galice Road below the slide can be accessed from Sunny Valley or Wolf Creek via Grave Creek Road, after a smaller slide near the Argo boat launch was removed Monday by the Bureau of Land Management.

Grants Pass had 2.38 inches of rain during the 48-hour period between 7 a.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Monday, and mountains to the west had as much as three times that much, according to the National Weather Service.

Following near-record rains in December, the monthly precipitation of 5.74 inches in Grants Pass is already above the average for January of 5.49 inches.

Flooding has already subsided, and no more is expected, although some rain is forecast through the rest of the week.

The Rogue River crested at over 15 feet in Grants Pass Sunday night, five feet below flood stage. It was nearly identical to the high water of mid-December.

The Rogue ran chocolate brown Monday, and an occasional large tree could be seen in the rushing water.

On Monday afternoon, the river still flowed at 20,000 cubic feet per second in Grants Pass, and well above that downstream thanks to more than 5,000 cfs coming in from the Applegate as well as high flows from Jumpoff Joe Creek and other tributaries.

Water roared through Hellgate Canyon and Taylor Canyon between Merlin and Galice Monday, and spread out a few hundred yards wide below Morrison's Lodge.

On Sunday, the heavy rain caused a swollen irrigation ditch above North Applegate Road to blow out, sending a mass of mud and water across the road.

Brandes said county road crews and heavy equipment from Noble Dairy worked to clear the road between Noble Dairy and Kubli Road east of Murphy.

Also Sunday, the intersection of Southeast J and Mill streets in Grants Pass completely flooded, stranding some trucks at the MasterBrand Cabinet factory.

Waves caused by traffic driving through the intersection compounded the flooding. The city Public Works Department set out cones and other barriers to keep traffic out, only to have numerous drivers ignore the barriers. That led to traffic stops, with patrol officers threatening to ticket motorists for failure to obey a traffic control device.

The Redwood pumping station west of Grants Pass is back online after less than a day of pumping raw sewage into the river because of high water, according to the city of Grants Pass.

With the river as high as it was, the 400 gallons per minute was nowhere near enough to cause any impacts to humans or wildlife, according to the city.

Reach reporter Jeff Duewel at 541-474-3720 or jduewel@thedailycourier.com