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Stormy Weather Hits Oregon; Worse To Come

By late Thursday, the National Weather Service had issued more than 40 weather-related watches, warnings and advisories in western Oregon and Washington. That includes a flood warning for the Grays River in Wahkiakum County in southwest Washington.

But Clinton Rockey with the National Weather Service based in Portland said flooding may prove to be the smaller problem.

“The big story, though, is the wind,” Rockey warned. “We have wind that will be increasing across the coastal areas — beaches, headlands and some of those exposed locations, wind could easily get up to 75, perhaps as high as 80 miles an hour in those spots. The problem we have this time of year is the trees are still heavy with leaves.”

Rockey said there’s a possibility the wind will knock tree limbs onto power lines and cause outages.

Weather Service records show some of Oregon’s historic wind storms were in October, such as the Columbus Day storm of 1962.

Meteorologists are predicting the rainy and windy weather underway in western Oregon will intensify this weekend.

“This is just the first punch of what looks to be a one-two punch scenario for us,” Rockey warned.

Rockey said a typhoon near Hawaii is heading east toward Oregon, bringing rain and wind.

“Preliminary estimates could be as high as 90 mile an hour winds along the coastline, even the Willamette Valley, especially from Salem northward; we’re in the potential of seeing maybe 60 to 65 miles an hour,” Rockey said.

Rocky advised people to be extra careful along the Oregon Coast and to stay out of the ocean if they can avoid it.

Public officials are already responding to the rain and wind and anticipating worse in the coming days.

Portland Parks & Recreation has closed its outdoor sports facilities through Sunday. In a statement, the Parks Bureau said, “Wet conditions on fields citywide (with much more rain forecast) have left many PP&R athletic fields with standing water.”

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rob Manning is a news editor at Oregon Public Broadcasting, with oversight of reporters covering education, healthcare and business. Rob became an editor in 2019, following about 15 years covering schools and universities in Oregon and southwest Washington as OPB’s education reporter.