SALEM, Ore. -- Oregonians should continue to be vigilant and prepared for more flooding, landslides and mudslides urge officials with the Governor's Recovery Cabinet, Oregon Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).?
Federal Coordinating Officer Glen R. Sachtleben said, "It may not be over yet. Oregonians need to stay prepared. Among the things people can do to prepare is buy flood insurance and be sure they have a family disaster plan in place."
Director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University, George H. Taylor said, "The ingredients for producing a significant flood event exist. We are having a wet winter which saturates the soil and fills up the rivers and reservoirs. We also have a deeper than average snow pack. With an additional period of heavy rain with mild temperatures melting the snow pack, there could be significant flooding."
"The most damaging winter flooding in the Northwest is the rain on snow event", said Taylor. This occurs when rain falls on a deep snow pack, melting the snow and causing a "double-shot" of run-off from rain and melted snow."
"The conditions are right in the Willamette Valley for a significant flood event. You still have a saturated soil, full rivers, and a heavy snow pack. The average snow pack figures have increased dramatically in the last 30 days. Thirty days ago it was at 45 percent of the average snow water equivalent in the Willamette Valley. Recently it was listed at 162 percent."
The flood of February 1996 is an example of the "rain on snow event", according to Taylor. He said the combination of heavy rain, warm temperatures and a deep snow pack, caused large amounts of run-off water and wide-spread flooding. He noted the importance of residents heeding agencies' warnings and that in Dec. 1964 the flooding caused a tremendous loss of life while in Feb. 1996 there was less loss of life due in part to residents taking flood warnings seriously, being prepared, and being aware of what to do in an emergency situation.
The Governor's Recovery Cabinet urges people to watch for potential landslides as rain continues and snow pack builds. "The state's recovery efforts rely on avoiding and preventing future damage whenever possible," said Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. "We will continue to coordinate closely with federal agencies and local governments, but we also need individual citizens' help. We urge people to be watchful for landslides, and to stay out of harm's way."
The U. S. Dept. of Agriculture's National Resources Conservation Service tracks changes in the snow pack through a network called "snowtel," or snowfall telemetry.
Two web sites Oregonians may want to check are the river forecast and flood stage page at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service Web site www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/ and the snow water equivalent page at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's National Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) Web site www.or.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/data/current.html. To check the snow water equivalent for today's date go to the NRCS website and select "Basin Average maps of Oregon for "snow water" or check "participation".?
"It is important to go a step further and know what to do before, during and after for specific types of disasters," State Coordinating Officer Abby Kershaw said. "Oregonians need to plan ahead for all types of disasters and to learn to prepare for and respond to them. Taking action today protects our families and reduces the impact of emergencies when they occur."