Heavy rain, melting snow raise concerns for flooding; possible snow on valley floor

Swift-moving water passes by sandbags stacked along Johnson Creek on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 in anticipation of flooding. (KATU Photo)

Expected heavy rain and melting snow have raised concerns for flooding for some local creeks and rivers.

A National Weather Service Flood Watch for the Portland-Metro area and other areas including the Coast Range, Coast, Willamette Valley and the Lower Columbia went into effect at 7 p.m. Monday and runs through late Tuesday night.

Additionally, a NWS Winter Storm Watch went into effect Monday at 10 p.m. and runs through Tuesday afternoon for the Portland-metro area. The storm could bring a trace to 3 inches of snow to the valley floor, and more in the hilly areas.

It’s likely, though, the valley will see a lot of rain.

“I think we’ll keep most of the snow off of the valley floor,” said KATU Meteorologist Dave Salesky late Monday night. “There may be a few wet, sloppy snowflakes, but it looks like right now we could see accumulating snow in some of the higher hills (around town).”

Johnson Creek usually tops the list of creeks that flood during heavy rains, and it could reach flood stage by Tuesday morning. The creek is already up about three feet compared to around 4 p.m. Sunday.

People who live nearby are keeping a close eye on the creek and have sandbags up already.

Bruce Cox, who lives near the creek, knows what can happen once the river reaches flood stage. His basement filled with water when Johnson Creek reached more than 15 feet in 2015.

"Got rid of 99 percent of what was in the basement. Took all the drywall out. Took all the insulation out. Just gutted, just gutted the basement. That was really heartbreaking," said Cox.

That happened just three months after Cox moved into the home. Now, they regularly check the river gauges online. Cox says they're not too worried about flooding Monday night or Tuesday.

Other creeks that are likely to flood include Dairy Creek, Boarman Creek and Fanno Creek, according to KATU Meteorologist Rhonda Shelby.

Portland Sandbag locations (note: bring your own shovel):

  • SE 88th Avenue just south of Holgate Boulevard in the parking lot at Lents Park. Enter parking lot at the bottom of the hill, and follow one-way traffic to the sand pile at the exit on the east side of SE 88th
  • SE 111th Avenue and Harold Street at the southeast corner of the intersection
  • SW 42nd Avenue and Vermont Street in the lower parking lot of Gabriel Park; enter Gabriel Park from Vermont

Sandbags are available in Washington and Clackamas county too.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has 150 people working to clear storm drains and close roads in case there is flooding.

The Joint Office of Homeless Services opened severe weather shelters again Monday night. If someone needs a warm and dry place to go, call 211. Dispatchers can tell you where the nearest shelter is or send a ride. You can also find that information at 211info.org.

Hear from people who've dealt with damage from Johnson Creek flooding:

11 p.m. Coverage:

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