Wet, windy storm blows down trees; more rain expected

PORTLAND, Ore. - A powerful Pacific storm began to deliver on promises of high winds and lots of rain Tuesday morning as gusty winds knocked down trees and blacked out power to thousands of people.

By 4:00 p.m., KATU Meteorologist Dave Salesky said 2.29 inches of rain had fallen on the Portland area in the last 24 hours.

On the coast, parts of Highway 101 near Seaside were closed to cars Tuesday after water on the highway reached nearly a foot in depth in some spots.

The KATU Storm Tracker team says Northwest residents can expect more of the same as satellite imagery shows the slow-moving weather system will lash the region throughout the day and into Wednesday.

The National Weather Service issued several advisories for the region, including bulletins for high winds and localized flooding due to heavy rain. Check out KATU's Weather Radar page.

Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service issued flood warnings for three Southwest Washington rivers, including the Willapa, Naselle and Grays rivers. They are expected to hit flood stage Tuesday evening.

The National Weather Service also issued a flood advisory for several Northwest Oregon counties. Some street flooding was reported in Tillamook as is typical during a heavy rain event.

Highway 18 through the Coast Range was closed in the forested Van Duzer Corridor near Grand Ronde due to a tree falling across the road and striking a logging truck. ODOT crews worked to clear the debris away but the highway was closed while they worked. ODOT said the driver of the truck was not hurt.

Oregon Parks and Recreation issued a warning to people on the Oregon coast to watch for heavy surf, sneaker waves and harsh conditions on the beaches due to blowing sand and rough seas.

In Portland, high water closed NE Glisan between 202nd and 207th Avenues. Heavy rains caused a nearby pond to overflow onto the road, which had about a foot of standing water. The road is expected to be closed until tomorrow.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is also warning travelers, residents and businesses about possible localized flooding, landslides, downed trees, limbs and power lines.

Power outages in the Portland area were spotty but several outlying areas also reported outages as trees and tree branches fell, bringing down power lines. Check this map for more outage information.

Portland city crews have built up sand piles and established sand bag locations for any Portland resident or business owner who wants to protect their property from flood damage. Sand and sand bags are provided at no charge, but you're asked to bring your own shovel.

The following locations are stocked:

SE 88th Ave just south of Holgate Blvd in the parking lot at Lents Park,
SE 111th Ave and Harold Street at the southeast corner of the intersection, and
SW 42nd Ave and Vermont Street in the lower parking lot of Gabriel Park.

Electrical utilities serving the Lincoln City area on the Oregon coast said about 2,400 people were without power in and around the coastal city after winds started kicking in around 3 a.m. Tuesday. Most people had power back on by 7 a.m. but more outages are expected as winds pick up.

In the Portland area, crews rushed to clear a fallen tree from a roadway near Southwest Taylor's Ferry Road and Lancaster at about 5 a.m.

By 6 a.m., the tree was cleared and the road reopened to traffic. Trees came down in other areas around the city as well but no serious damage was reported.

City officials said they expected similar incidents to keep crews busy through the day. They are also asking homeowners to check storm drains in the street near their residences and to clear away leaves and other debris to drain any standing water.

It's not all bad news, however. With the freezing level staying below the elevation of most Cascade ski resorts, new snow was piling up Tuesday ahead of the important Thanksgiving holiday, the traditional full opening for most resorts although early snowfall allowed some to open a week ago.

However, high winds kept Mt. Bachelor from opening. A press release from officials there said the slopes would open to skiers on Thursday.

Most ski resorts are expecting at least another foot of new snow from the storm, but a rising snow level on Wednesday may melt away some of the gains.

The wind and rain are expected to start letting up by Wednesday afternoon.

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