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NWS: The Worst Of Salem, Eugene Flooding Is Over

<p>Oregon Department of Transportation road crews work to clear the Historic Columbia River Highway of fallen rocks. Heavy rain has caused landslides and flooding.</p>

Courtesy Of ODOT

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Oregon Department of Transportation road crews work to clear the Historic Columbia River Highway of fallen rocks. Heavy rain has caused landslides and flooding.

Heavy rainfall has affected a number of communities in the region over the last few days, especially in areas around Salem and Eugene.

The National Weather Service reports the heaviest of the precipitation is over.  

"We’re still going to get a little bit more light rain here through the rest of the week. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be nearly as much as we’ve seen," said Jeremiah Pyle, a meteorologist with the Portland office of the National Weather Service.  

“Most of the rivers have crested at this point and are starting to recede, so we’ll see a lot of those starting to come down here in the next 12 to 24 hours,” Pyle said. 

The smaller streams in the region have already begun receding, Pyle said, but longer-stem rivers like the Willamette will stay high for at least the next few days. Though the heaviest rainfall is over, water is still working its way through the system, Pyle said, and Willamette tributaries rivers could still flood.  

“Some of the more significant tributaries like the Long Tom River are looking like they’re going to go to flood here in the next 12 to 24 hours,” Pyle said. “A few of the upstream Willamette points between Corvallis and Eugene are going to be right at or above flood stage.” 

There should not be any significant concerns for the general public though, Pyle said.  

“We’re looking at primarily flooding of low-land areas right around the rivers, some agricultural areas, maybe some parklands,” he said.   

Still, he cautions people to use common sense and stay away from high water.  

Another danger from area flooding could be landslides due to the water's degradation of surrounding soil.  

“ are always a concern after these big, heavy rain events. It’s the time of year where we tend to see more slides and debris flows with the saturated soils, so that’s certainly something we’ll be concerned about,” he said.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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Meerah Powell is a general assignment and breaking news reporter for OPB. She previously worked as a news reporter and podcast producer for Eugene Weekly in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Along with writing and audio work, Meerah also has experience with photography and videography. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication.