BEATTY, Ore. – A flood warning is now in effect for the Sprague River in Klamath County.
Former Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams owns a ranch just north of the Sprague River. He knows the river well. “It’s really flat down there, so it really spreads out once it comes out of the banks,” Mallams explained. “It will get a mile wide down here in places very easily right now.”
Mallams said there’s already moderate flooding near the river. “It’s causing a lot of damage, and a lot of issues that will linger on for quite some time, because the ground is really super saturated now,” he said.
The Sprague River is a little bit unusual, as it basically moves in slow motion, and so does the flood stage.
“It’s very slow and meandering,” Mallams said. “There are some deep channels and fairly cold channels, but a lot of it’s just very, very slow moving compared to the west side.”
Water levels along the Sprague are being monitored closely.
And while there’s no rain coming down, Mallams points out that melting snow may pose a greater hazard. “The sun’s out, the snow’s going to melt, and I’m sure it’s going to come up higher than it was yesterday.”
So far, there have been no evacuations or road closures.
The National Weather Service estimates the Sprague could crest at nine feet.
In February of 2017, the river crested at more than nine-and-a-half feet, causing significant damage.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.