Flood Alert: Heavy rains this weekend

Oh, we’ve seen fire and we will see rain.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a flood warning Thursday for all of western Oregon, with heavy rain and possible flooding likely thanks to an expected 1.62 inches of rain in the Gorge over the weekend. The forecast means that Gorge areas with fire damage, or where debris is present, may be at higher risk.

Areas around Cascade Locks, particularly the Eagle Creek and Tanner Creek basins, are at highest risk, according to NOAA.

U.S. Forest Service officials gave a community briefing Wednesday on the Eagle Creek fire (50 percent contained as of Friday) at Hood River Middle School. About 30 people heard an informative presentation that underscored this:

Understanding what weather to expect should be paired with a firm knowledge of your neighborhood.

If you live along a creek, remember it is what is up your slope, in addition to up the stream itself, that spells danger. Know the information and alert systems that are in place and use them, officials noted.

Flooding and landslides, including rocks, are likely throughout the Gorge over the next six months. Erosion is the concern as precipitation weighs down and weakens areas damaged heavily by fire.

“The key is to understand what wildfire does to soil and how the landscape changes. It has a lot of implications for emergencies and what can happen later,” said Rachel Pawlitz of USFS. She said, “Hood River is not really downhill from this in the sense that it’s at immediate risk from landslides from the burned area, but Cascade Locks is and the Dodson-Warrendale area is.”

Information resources include the Hood River County website, co.hood-river.or.us. On the home page, look for a link to the opt-in for emergency alerts. Other sources include:

• www.weather.gov/pqr

• mobile.weather.go

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