Northwest Oregon pummeled by rain; forecast: more storms

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Heavy rains drench Portland, northwest Oregon, causing flooding, landslides, sewer overflow.

PORTLAND, Ore. Dec. 7, 2015: Pouring rain and clogged storm drains caused flooding in the streets near the corner of SE 12th and Hawthorne in Portland, Ore. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP) PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon and the rain are synonymous — but the downpours that have caused flooding, landslides and evacuations in the state this week are getting to be too much even for the Pacific Northwest.And we’re just getting started, forecasters say, as yet another in a strong series of storms is poised off the Oregon coast and setting it sights on northwest Oregon and southwest Washington.

That’s going to translate into heavy rain again Tuesday night and then again Wednesday night into Thursday, with periods of gusting winds in between and rivers rising to or above flood stage. Officials warned that residents could face a repeat of Monday’s scenario: streets turned into creeks, flooding near rivers and streams, landslides and delays in traffic and mass transit. The storm that caused floods, landslides, road closures and even a sinkhole was expected to bring its next wave of heavy rain Tuesday, possibly during the evening commute.

The parking lot at Multnomah Falls, a popular tourist stop in the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland, was closed after a creek overflowed its banks. Officials were also trying to figure out how to repair massive sinkholes that had opened up on Monday — one in front of Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, a Portland suburb, and another on Highway 22 in Yamhill County. On Monday morning, Portland’s combined sewer system overflowed into the Willamette River and the Columbia Slough.The Bureau of Environmental Services urged people to avoid coming into contact with waterways and floodwaters. “It’s really important that folks minimize their contact with this water,” a BEC spokeswoman said at a press conference. “It’s extremely polluted.

But the damage was already done in many places across the metro area, where high water closed roads, triggered landslides and sent rocks cascading down hillsides. As of late Tuesday afternoon, more than 3,500 customers were without power in the Puget Sound region while nearly 900 customers were experiencing power outages in the Portland area. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department also issued a beach safety alert on Tuesday for coast visitors, as strong winds and extremely high waves are in the forecast. And with the rain and wind came record high temperatures Monday: 63 at Portland International Airport, beating the previous mark of 58 in 1970), and 61 in Hillsboro, a degree above the earlier record of 60 in 1983.

A high wind warning remains in effect until early Wednesday morning, with gusts on beaches and headlands potentially reaching up to 70 mph, the National Weather Service reports. Residents are being urged to clear debris from storm drains — “it’s the best thing you can do to prevent flooding,” said Dylan Rivera, Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman.

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