Next Chapter In Northwest Weather Expected To Be Flooding, Landslides

By Jessica Robinson

The National Weather Service says the recent snowfall combined with rain over the next few days has set the stage for flooding in parts of the Northwest. Forecasters have issued flood warnings in western Oregon, southeast Washington, north Idaho and areas along the Idaho-Oregon border.

A landslide carried boulders onto I-84 near Hood River, Ore., on Wednesday. Credit: Oregon State PoliceMargo Balzarini says everything seemed pretty normal in downtown Colfax, Wash., on Wednesday morning. She's one of the owners of Palouse River Quilts. But then water started building up around the storm drains.

Margo Balzarini: “Then all of a sudden, Main Street was full of water and it started coming up over the sidewalk and coming in our backdoors and filling up the basement.”

It turned out, a nearby culvert couldn't handle the runoff. About a half dozen businesses suffered water damage.

It's a sign of what forecasters say is yet to come. Ian Madin is the chief scientist for the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. He says heavy rain could lead to more landslides.

Ian Madin: “So if you live in the mountains, you live in steep slopes, you live at the bottom of a canyon out in the Coast Range, this is the time to be extra vigilant about potential landslides.”

Madin advises people near canyons to keep an ear out for rumbling and watch for quick changes in the creek level. He says it could signal a fast-moving flow of mud and rock is coming.

Photo: A landslide carried boulders onto I-84 near Hood River, Ore., on Wednesday. Credit: Oregon State Police

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