Rogue floods at Agness? No worries there

AGNESS — The Rogue River finally began to recede here this morning after jumping its banks Tuesday as the Big Dump of snow and rain turned into the Big Melt throughout the Rogue Basin.

While most of the Rogue stayed well beneath bank-full this week, the lower Rogue in Curry County grappled with a roguish Rogue that peaked late Tuesday night at six feet above flood stage at the little hamlet of Agness 27 river miles from the ocean.

"That's nothing to us," says Agness resident Julie Scherbarth. "Most everybody is way above that.

"We're pretty hardy folk," Scherbarth says. "It didn't bother us one stinky bit."

By early Wednesday afternoon, flows that had peaked at a whopping 90,009 cubic feet per second at the Agness gauge upstream of the mouth of the Illinois had ebbed to just below 75,000 cfs, which was still two feet above flood stage.

"It's going down like somebody finally flushed the toilet," says Scherbarth. "I'm looking right now at the confluence of the Illinois and the Rogue, and both are going down."

The Agness gauge is the lowest U.S. Geological Survey gauge on the Rogue, and Wednesday's flow was the highest on record there for Jan. 11, according to the USGS. The gauge's all-time high was nearly 300,000 cfs during the 1964 flood, records show.

No damages were reported in and around Agness, but repeated mud slides have kept road crews busy along Jerry's Flat Road, the paved access road linking Gold Beach to Highway 101, according to the Agness-Illahe Volunteer Fire Department.

Meanwhile, the water drop was later and lighter at the Rogue mouth town of Gold Beach.

"There's a lot of debris coming down," says Steve Hammermeister from behind the counter at the Rogue Outdoor Store. "Huge logs. It's ugly."

Water was flowing late Wednesday morning at the top of the pilings that normally hold the docks in place at nearby Lex's Landing.

"Normally, they're 10 feet above the water line now," Hammermeister says.

Rogue Valley emergency agencies reported only localized flooding of Rogue tributaries while the river rose and dropped dramatically but well within its banks, gauge records show.

The Rogue at Dodge Bridge near Eagle Point topped out late Tuesday at 11,538 cfs, which is about three feet under flood stage, according to the USGS. The river at the former Gold Ray Dam site near Gold Hill rose late Tuesday to 20,658 cfs, which also is three feet under flood stage.

Bear Creek in downtown Medford peaked late Tuesday at 1,500 cfs, or nearly 19 times higher than its height Friday, according to the USGS.

Inflows to Lost Creek Lake swelled by rain and melting snow rose the basin's main reservoir two feet between midday Monday and Wednesday morning as the Corps released less water than it captured during this high-water event, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Applegate Lake, a smaller reservoir on a flashier Rogue sub-basin, rose 13 feet in that same time period, according to the Corps. 

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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