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Carlotta couple catches cliff collapse, flooding on video

A screenshot from Smithey's video.
A screenshot from Smithey's video.
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Maureen Smithey and her husband were out for a walk by their summer cabin in Carlotta Tuesday when she said she noticed strange movement on the wall of a nearby cliff.

"I was looking at the cliff and there was a continual stream of rubble falling down, which was unusual," Smithey said.

Smithey said she decided to take a video of the odd sight to show her neighbors in case they were planning on swimming in the part of the Van Duzen River below that cliff.

"That's when it just continued to slough off in bigger and bigger chunks," Smithey said. "A massive amount of material went into the river and caused the river to surge our direction to the opposite side of the bank, where we were standing. So we had to run up away from the bank real quickly."

The Van Duzen River, which shoots off from the Eel River, was one of a number of rivers and streams that started to flood Tuesday night after excessive rainfall over the past week.

"We were both wearing rubber boots and I got water down my rubber boots and up to my calves," Smithey said.

The flooding didn't last for long in this particular location, but with potential long-term damage to the cliff wall, Smithey and her neighbors aren't out of the water yet.

"There were lots of new cracks in the cliff and we could tell that the cliff was completely saturated with water," Smithey said.

The neighborhood plans to hold a meeting Saturday to discuss and prepare for the possibility of further deterioration of the cliff.

"I think that there probably will be more material coming off it if we have more atmospheric rivers. If we have a lot more drenching rain, I do think there will be more material coming off it," Smithey said.

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According to the National Weather Service (NWS), more atmospheric rivers are in the North Coast's future. This could lead to further flooding in rivers like the Van Duzen, which reached 'monitor stage' Tuesday but has since receded as of Thursday.

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