Storm in Oregon bringing landslides, flooding, heavy mountain snow

Credit: Mark Hanrahan/KGW Staff

Flooding along Highway 101, on the Oregon Coast.

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by KGW Staff and Associated Press

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM

PORTLAND -- Heavy rain in the Portland Metro area and along the Oregon Coast was prompting flood warnings Thursday and it wasn't expected to let up soon.

"There are already flooding issues at the coast near Seaside," KGW Meteorologist Nick Allard said Thursday. "Rain will continue for most of the day before tapering off during the early evening hours. Inches of rain are possible in the coast range and the higher elevation as the snow level rises."

Severe weather: Ore. Flood Warnings & Winter Weather Advisories

High water caused problems along Highway 101 south of Seaside Thursday morning. Traffic was restricted only to trucks but that partial closure was lifted early in the afternoon. Highway 6, the Wilson River Highway, was closed near Glenwood after two tractor trailers jackknifed.

Landslides were also slowing traffic in other areas along Highway 101, including south of Tillamook.  In Astoria, a landslide forced the evacuation of at least two homes.  There were no reports of injuries.

More: Homes evacuated after landslide

In the Portland Metro area, the National Weather Service issued a Flood Advisory for several counties and warned that excessive runoff from the heavy rainfall will cause ponding of water on highways and cause elevated levels in rivers and streams.

Thursday afternoon a landslide along Northwest Cornell Road prompted a road closure at NW 53rd. Dan Anderson with the Portland Bureau of Transportation said a detour was in place around the landslide but drivers should expect major delays.

A little further out of town, OR 126 was closed due to a landslide between Walton and Mapleton in Lane County. Officials said that section of highway will likely remain closed until Friday. (See photo top, right.)

As for the mountains, both the Oregon Cascades and Coast Range were getting a lot of snow Thursday.  A Winter Weather Advisory was scheduled to remain in effect through Thursday evening. The advisory warned that the mountains could get 6 to 10 inches of fresh snow and that driving conditions could be hazardous across the passes.

"Speaking of snow levels, we still have the chance to see snow in the Gorge, too," Allard said. "The upper Hood River Valley and spots around Hood River could see at least a few more inches of snow while the precipitation is heavy."

More: Heavy snow in mountains & Gorge

In Washington state, a woman skiing at Crystal Mountain got caught in an avalanche.  She was rescued by members of the ski patrol team after about 15 minutes.  She said she managed to dig out a tiny air pocket as she waited and hoped that someone would find her.

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