After heavy rain washed out two roads leading to the Humboldt County community of Redwood Valley, its residents were stranded without power or supplies.
As of Tuesday — four days after heavy rains began — an estimated 50 residents remained stranded, and many urged the county to speed up road repairs.
“The chaos is very bad. I mean, there are 20-, 30-foot canyons where the road used to be,” said resident John Tavasci.
The only way to leave Redwood Valley is to drive to a road closure, walk a quarter-mile and get a ride from someone on the other side.
Tom Mattson, the county’s public works director, initially said at least one of the two roads – Bair and Stover – should be repaired by the end of Tuesday, but an update from the agency pushed the estimate to Wednesday.
Storms that began Friday dumped about 7 inches of rain on the mountains east of Eureka and overwhelmed culverts in Redwood Valley, allowing streams to wash out roads. A 110-year rainfall record was broken in Eureka, the National Weather Service said.
Pacific Gas and Electric confirmed Wednesday that many homes in the Redwood Creek drainage north of Highway 299 are without power.
“The situation is very serious for us. People had no electricity and no way to easily get food and supplies. We’re doing the best we can as a community to support each other, but ultimately, we need a safe way to get in and out of our valley as quickly as possible,” said Redwood Valley resident Lana Borealis by email.
Early cost estimates put the damage at more than $1 million, Mattson said. When asked about the condition of roads in Redwood Valley before the storm, he said it was “normal for the county.”
Another group of showers arrived Tuesday night in Humboldt County, and heavier rain is expected beginning Friday, the weather service said.