Flood warning issued for Sprague River

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.

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