Now is the time to prepare for flooding and landslides

With a wet, cold winter expected and burn scars prevalent from the 2020 wildfires in Oregon, it is important to be ready for flooding and landslides. Heavy rain can trigger mudslides and debris flows in steep terrain, and the risk is higher in wildfire burn areas.

Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can carry boulders and logs in a fast-moving soil and water down steep hillsides and through narrow canyons.

To find the latest information on weather watches, warnings or advisories in Oregon you can visit the National Weather Service.

If your home, work or driving route is in a watch area, here are some helpful pointers:

  • Stay alert and track the flood watch by radio, TV, weather radio or online. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Listen to unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. If you think there is danger of a landslide, leave immediately.
  • Watch the water. If water in a stream or creek suddenly turns muddy, or if the amount of water flowing suddenly              decreases or increases, this is a warning that the flow has been affected upstream. You should immediately leave the area because a  debris flow may soon be coming downstream.
  • Travel with extreme caution. Assume roads are not safe. Be alert when driving, especially at night. Embankments along roadsides may fail, sending rock and debris onto the road.

To prepare for a floods, landslides, or any emergency it is important to have an emergency kit with necessary supplies. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management recommends being 2 Weeks Ready with enough supplies to last at least two-weeks. Be ready and stay safe.

For more information about what to do before, during and after a flood visit the OEM website.