Brian's Photo Blog — Article 43
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Willamette Valley Flooding
Saturday 21 January 2012   —   Category: Outings
The BIG news for this third week of the new year is massive rain, snow and flooding in the Pacific Northwest. But natural disasters have a long history of making great photo ops! So I reconnoiter my neighborhood as well as downtown Albany, to see what the Calapooia (pronounced: cal-uh-POOH-yuh) and Willamette rivers were up to. Let me tell you, they were definitely UP! However, I didn’t want to get my nice, expensive Sony camera system wet, so I grabbed my wife’s Canon PowerShot SD550 point-and-shoot pocket camera instead.

Even though there is flooding throughout the region, wouldn’t you know, the first — and so far, only — deaths have occured right here in Albany. The fields behind our house are getting pretty flooded — here are some before and after photos (click on the photos to see larger versions in the new Albany Flood 2012 photo album:

The latest news at 6:00 AM on Friday 20 January is that the Willamette River will reach flood stage in Albany (25 feet) around 4:00 PM this afternoon. As you can see from the graph to the left, the river is expected to rise to 26.35 feet (1.35 feet over flood stage), and finally start sinking below flood stage by late Saturday afternoon, about 24 hours later.

You can click on the graph to see the most recent version on the National Weather Service Web site. It’s unclear at this point how this flooding will impact the city of Albany, and if our house will be in any danger. We are living about 325 yards from the Calapooia River, which for now does not seem to be in danger of overflowing. I’m going to walk over there later this morning and try to get some photos to post here.

OK ... I’m back. Not only did I walk down the street to the Calapooia River (the map to the right shows how close we are!), but I also drove to downtown Albany to see how the Willamette River was getting along. I got some really great shots, all with my wife’s point-and-shoot camera, including 6 panorama photos. You can see all 32 pictures in the Albany Flood 2012 photo album. The Calapooia was pretty high — be sure to check out this photo in the album.

The latest flood news is that it appears the Willamette River will not pass flood stage, and when I checked on the Calapooia River by our house late this afternoon, it wasn’t any higher than it was this morning. So for now, I guess we’re OK ... we really dodged the bullet on that one!

Now today, Saturday 21 January, I saw this article on the Albany Democrat Herald Web site: Calapooia threatens Oakville area. Oakville Road is on the WEST side of the Calapooia, while we live on the EAST side. Apparently, the west side is a bit lower, and so the high waters of the Calapooia are leaking into that area, and sparing our side. Check out this video, which, from 0:25 to 1:46 shows flooding of the Calapooia, two to three miles south of our house. After that, the video shows flooding along the Willamette River, around the area I was taking pictures yesterday in downtown Albany. At around 2:50 you begin to see (now underwater) Bryant Park, where the Calapooia enters the Willamette.
It was really great to be able to use a small, discreet camera that can fit in my shirt pocket. Sometimes that’s just the kind of camera that’s required for a particular occasion. It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t get myself a camera like that — but one that’s a bit more modern and capable than my wife’s camera. Hmmm....
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 43
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