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Pacific weathers storm season's first flood threat

The City of Pacific passed its first test with rising waters.

"Our flood plan worked flawlessly," said Mayor Richard Hildreth while surveying Pacific Park and the swift-running White River that runs along it. "This is the heaviest test we've had since 2009."

The park and surrounding homes bordering a long reinforced HESCO wall safely withstood the threat of any significant flooding from the weekend's heavy rain. There were no reports of damage to homes or property, Hildreth said.

At 8 o'clock Saturday night, flows at the Mud Mountain Dam were increased to 6,000 cubic feet per second, which impacted the river at Pacific about midnight, Hildreth said.

With reduced capacity, the 6,000 cfs resulted in topping of the riverbank, south of the park. Because of the flood protection put in over the past two years, flooding was restricted to wetland areas, Hildreth said.

The Corps increased river flows again to 8,000 cfs by 8 a.m. Sunday.

By Monday morning, there was some minor urban flooding in the park. But no problems were reported along Butte Avenue and other areas in and around the city, Hildreth said.

Residents should be reminded that prior to the January 2009 storms, flows below 10,000 cfs would leave the riverbank, Hildreth said. However, with gravel, sand and debris that washed down in 2009, the capacity of the river as it flows through Pacific has been reduced. At the county line, the capacity was estimated at less than 5,000 cfs.

"This is why the floodwalls were installed," Hildreth added.

"It should also be noted that we have trained spotters monitoring the river levels in Pacific and will immediately notify (authorities) if reductions are needed," Hildreth said.

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