Flood Rescues After Rivers Overflow in Portland, Oregon


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Heavy rain in parts of Oregon and southern Washington has triggered widespread flooding and landslides.

Roads are submerged in flood water, forcing many to abandon their cars. Around 50 people had to be rescued after a Kellogg Creek overflowed in Clackamas County. Local media report that Johnson Creek has flooded in Portland and Milwaukie, inundating surrounding roads and bridges.

Nation Werather Service Portland say that levels of Johnson Creek near Sycamore gage stand at 15.33 feet (4.66 metres), breaking the previous high of 15.3 feet in 1996. The Wilson and Siletz rivers are also well above flood stage, although levels appear to be cresting and are expected to fall to safer levels some time today.

During a news conference yesterday, a spokesman for Portland’s Bureau of Transportation called the recent weather an “extraordinary rainfall event.”

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for most of northwest Oregon and southwest Washington until Wednesday 09 December 2015. NWS Portland also said that an elevated threat of landslides will continue until at least midweek.

Areas under flood watch include the greater Portland metro area, north and central Oregon coast, the central Willamette Valley, the central Columbia River Gorge, the north and central Coast Range, and the northern Oregon Cascades and Cascade foothills.

Floods blocked roads in and around Portland, Oregon. Photo: Portland Department of Transport
Floods blocked roads in and around Portland, Oregon. Photo: Portland Bureau of Transportation

For a full list of weather related road closures, see the Portland Bureau of Transportation website here.

Parts of neighbouring Oregon state were affected by flooding after a series of storms in November. Neighbouring Washington State was also badly hit, prompting Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, to declare a state of emergency on 18 November 2015.

Rainfall

Portland typically sees five-and-a-half inches during the entire month of December. Some areas around Portland saw over 3 inches in 1 day.

On Sunday, NWS Portland said via Twitter:

“Since 2pm Sunday, Portland airport received 3.22″. That is the most for any Dec 24-hr period. Record was 2.59″ 12-13 Dec 1977”.

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