LCOE offers parking to flooded neighbors

February 10, 2017

Education office offers parking to flooded neighbors

The intersection of Konocti Ave. and Esplanade in Lakeport, one of the streets where Lake County Office of Education Supervisor Brock Falkenberg offered to help with parking for threatened cars. Tony Barthel

By Dave Faries, on Twitter

LAKEPORT >> Brock Falkenberg laments his timing, though nothing else.

The Superintendent of the Lake County Office of Education on Thursday decided to go door to door along flooded areas of K St. and Konocti Ave. as floodwaters moved up those Lakeport streets, offering his department’s parking lot to any resident needed to move a vehicle to safety.

He was pelted with rain as he spoke with residents or dropped off letters detailing the offer. To Tony Barthel, who lives on Konocti Ave., the normally impeccable Falkenberg looked somewhat like “a wet cat.”

Not long after the superintendent returned to his office at the corner of Main and K streets, the rain — constant throughout the day — eased to a stop.

“I’m still drying off,” Falkenberg said with a laugh. “I wish I’d waited an hour; I wouldn’t even have needed a coat.”

The latest atmospheric river dumped several more inches of rain on the county. Lakeport was hit with 4.2 inches since Sunday, Clearlake 7.4 over the same span, with other areas recording similar numbers.

Clear Lake reached 9.26 on the Rumsey Gauge as of 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, a quarter inch above flood stage and rapidly approach the most recent high of 9.37, set in March of 2011. Five hours later the lake matched the old mark.

The lake is expected to reach close to 10.0 on the Rumsey Gauge by Saturday, levels not seen since the epic flood of 1998, when it peaked at 11.44.

During the height of the 2011 weather event, staff of Vector Control on Esplanade in Lakeport were forced to wade to their offices. Esplanade is closed once again, covered with water in many places. It’s the same story around the county, where rushing water, mudslides or downed trees have disrupted travel.

In addition to Lakeport, streets in Clearlake Oaks, Cobb, Kelseyville, and Upper Lake have been closed. Clearlake City Manager Greg Folsom reported on Thursday afternoon that the city had not closed roads to traffic, but crews from the Public Works department and officers from the Clearlake Police Department were constantly checking the situation.

Earlier in the morning, however, Record-Bee carriers reported some areas in The Avenues doubtful to impassable.

When Falkenberg inspected the inundated area at K St. and Esplanade, he decided to reach out to the Office of Education’s neighbors.

“This is starting to be a hazard,” he said. “So I thought ‘what can we do?’”

He explained that flood waters have never entered the building and the parking lot was large enough to accommodate those who wanted safer grounds for their vehicles.

“We’re just being a good neighbor,” he said.

Fortunately rain is expected to taper off today, according to Accuweather forecasts. The sun should return again over the weekend.

But, Accuweather warns, another round of wet weather is headed this way on Wednesday.

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