With the river level at 15 feet and flowing at a rate of 30,800 cubic feet per second, the John Day River nearly touches Ore. Hwy. 207 as it bends near the Ore. 19 junction at Service Creek. Photo: Bryan Dorr, May 16, 2011.

John Day River goes over its banks

By Bryan Dorr
Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 4:45 PM PDT

WHEELER COUNTY, Ore. - Heavy rain from a thunderstorm over the weekend and snowmelt have caused the John Day River to spill over its banks.

At Service Creek where the river makes a sharp left bend, the river nearly plows into Ore. Hwy. 207. A concrete barrier is in place along the highway to keep any debris from entering the roadway.

The National Weather Service Advance Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) river gauge at Service Creek recorded the highest crest at 5:15 p.m. PDT on Monday at 15.23 feet and flowing approximately 31,800 cubic feet per second (cfs). A normal flow is under 10 feet and 13,000 cfs.

Five miles to the south along Ore. 19/207, river water skimmed under a wooden bridge span as large logs and other debris slammed into the timber span. The gates at the wooden bridge were closed.

High water also touched the highway in Spray and flooded farmlands and RV parks.

High water also flooded a 200-foot section of Ore. Hwy. 19 at the Wheeler and Grant county line near Kimberly, which momentarily closed the highway on Monday. Ore. Hwy 402 between Kimberly and Monument was also closed due to flooding.

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