Flooding, Gales Creek, Weather

Heavy rain could cause flooding in Coast Range, northwestern Oregon creeks and rivers

Water from Prickett Creek near the Watts community outside of Gales Creek floods Stringtown Road January 12, 2021. Photo: Chas Hundley

The Portland office of the National Weather Service warned that heavy rains expected to begin Wednesday night could bring flooding along creeks and rivers in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington.

In a hydrologic outlook published early Wednesday morning, the federal weather agency also noted that landslides were possible near steep terrain. 

What’s known as an atmospheric river is expected to push into the Pacific Northwest Wednesday through Friday, and in the northern Oregon Coast Range and other mountain locales, anywhere from six to 12 inches of rain could fall during those days. 

On the valley floor, one to three inches is possible, while two to five inches of rain could fall along the coast. 

The Portland NWS warned that creeks and rivers draining the northern Coast Range—such as the Nehalem River, the Wilson River, Gales Creek and more—were especially at risk of flooding, and that smaller tributaries and rivers of the Willamette River—such as the Tualatin River—could also see flooding. 

“The big message with this outlook is to keep an eye on the weather and river forecasts this week,” the NWS said, advising people to review their action plans in case of flooding. 

“Do not drive through standing water or water moving across the roadway,” Washington County’s Department of Land Use & Transportation urged on a webpage dedicated to tips on driving in winter conditions.

See flooding in western Washington County this week? Email the location and a description of what you see, and a photo if safe to capture one, to [email protected] to share with our readers.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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