PACIFIC, Wash. -- Russ Tyree said he thought someone had set off a stick of dynamite under the railroad bridge near his home in Pacific Sunday night.
It turns out he heard some kind of homemade explosive, but the target was not the bridge - it was a small box next to it, and it was blown to bits. That box houses a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) flood monitoring device on the flood prone White River in Pacific.
The device uplinks critical river flow information to the web for flood managers from several agencies. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses it for the operation of the Howard Hanson Dam upstream.
The agencies were expecting to use it during the upcoming rain storms forecasted for Tuesday and the rest of the week. The box is so vital for flood protection that USGS technicians replaced it in a matter of a few hours.
Pacific police were not commenting on the case, but did say they have not arrested anyone and have no suspects at this time. Whoever did it could face serious charges and fines.
The boxes provide a network that gives agencies an overall flood picture so they can evacuate homes and close streets if necessary hours before the flood waters arrive.