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    Posted December 22, 2014 by
    Florence, Oregon
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Severe weather

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    Flood Damage Closes Hwy 101 Temporarily on Oregon Coast


    Breaking news:  12-12-14. Hwy 101 is partially open again with a pilot car leading motorists.  There is a 20 minute expected delay since only one lane is open.  The estimate is it may take as long as two months to repair the damage and get both lanes open.


    Sunday afternoonI drove up the coast to where the heavy rains, an active landslide and a failing retaining wall have caused the closing of Highway 101 on the central Oregon coast for an indefinite amount of time.


    ODOT said the area might be partially open again on Monday with one lane and a pilot car


    The barrier on 101 that is damaged is just past the north entrance to the parking lot for Heceta Lighthouse, located between Florence and Yachats.  The short drive from my cottage near Florence had visibility through the rain and whisps of fog but farther out on the ocean it was like grey soup.


    With 101 closed so Florence residents cannot drive north they also had to deal with temporarily having the road inland to Eugene, Hwy 126, closed on Sunday for awhile too.   Additionally there were some issues on Hwy 101 to the south as well making travel outside the town a challenge.


    High water from the Siuslaw River also temporarily closed Highway 126 from Florence to Eugene about 3 miles east of Florence at the Cushman area. As of tonight it was open again.  I drove out there too and the Siuslaw River waters had receded quite a ways from Hwy 126 and a high tide may have contributed to the water coming up over 126.


    During high tides and with the rainfall there is a chance the river may rise and cover Hwy 126 again.


    Late Sunday afternoon when I drove north from Florence toward the lighthouse there were many places where temporary waterfalls were coming down next to 101 on the side of the road away from the ocean.


    Part of the time the road is heavily forested on both sides.  Sometimes the road runs next to the cliffs with retaining walls or guard rails on the ocean side.


    Driving north of Florence the first sign warning drivers that the road is closed to all but local traffic is near the entrance to the Sea Lion Caves parking lot, about 2 miles south of Heceta Lighthouse.


    Driving farther on is where you see places with multiple waterfalls created by the heavy rains coming down the rocky cliffs above the side away from theocean and splashing next to the road.


    Heavy fog was on the ocean sometimes close up the shore and other times farther out. Heceta Beach, Florence's coastline, could be seen but it faded into a grey foggy blur.


    The light in the Heceta Lighthouse, newly repaired, was shining bright through the rain and fog.


    The winds were low and the weather reached a high of 54 degrees according to local reports.

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