Northwest pummeled by rain and wind as storms continue

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Heavy rains drench Oregon, Washington, causing flooding, landslides,.

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.PORTLAND, Ore. – Heavy rains turned streets in the Portland area into creeks, interrupted bus and light rail service and forced the evacuation of at least one neighborhood.

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 advised residents in affected areas to avoid traveling and to watch for flash floods, mudslides, falling trees and power outages and to avoid driving through high water.

Officials predicted 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. Andy Haner, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Seattle, said Tuesday night that every major river in western Washington is either already at or will rise to at least a minor flood stage over the next few days. 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. 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.

Officials were also trying to figure out how to repair massive sinkholes that 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. 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. 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. 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.

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