Authorities Warn of High Winds, Heavy Rains, Landslides in Region

Credit: Lynn Hill

Heavy rains, high winds, tall waves, and the potential for landslides or flash floods are in the forecast for Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Posted: Dec 17, 2018 11:55 AM
Updated: Dec 17, 2018 4:13 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Multiple authorities are warning of significant weather impacts in the areas of Southern Oregon and Northern California this week as a major storm system moves in — including heavy rains, high winds, tall waves, and the potential for landslides or flash floods.

The National Weather Service predicts with "high confidence" that the region will see heavy rain, strong winds and high surf from Monday night through Tuesday.

Winds will be worst along the coast and in the higher areas east of the Cascades. The heaviest rains are expected along the coast and into the mountains through Tuesday afternoon.

A flash flood watch is in effect for the Klondike and Chetco Bar burn scars in Curry and Josephine counties for Tuesday until 10 p.m.

"Heavy rain can trigger landslides and debris flows in steep terrain, and the risk is higher in burn areas," said the Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries in a statement.

One form of risk in these areas are debris flows — "rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides." These slides can contain boulders or logs carried along in rapidly shifting wet soil down steep hillsides or through canyones. They can travel a mile or more at a time.

"A debris flow moves faster than a person can run. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk," the Department said.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has created a new dashboard to track "forecasted stream gauge information" in an attempt to display flooding potential by area.

"This new dashboard shows the number many gauges in action state or higher, a map on which you can click points representing the stream gauges, and details that show the gauge information sorted by waterbody and location," said OEM.

Visit our StormWatch 12 Weather page for the latest forecasts, plus any warnings, watches or advisories for our area!

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