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'Atmospheric River' Headed for Oregon Coast Range, Possible Coastal Flooding

Published 11/10/21 at 5:18 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

'Atmospheric River' Headed for Oregon Coast Range, Possible Coastal Flooding

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – An intense amount of rain is coming to the Oregon and Washington coast range over the next few days, lasting into the weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Portland said there is the potential for river flooding in many areas, including near the beach towns, and rainfall could be as heavy as three-quarters of an inch per hour.

What the NWS is calling an “atmospheric river” begins Wednesday night as a warm front enters the area, creating periods of moderate to heavy rain and high snow levels.

“Heavy rain will then continue Thursday and Friday as an atmospheric river pushes into the Pacific Northwest,” the NWS said. “Expected rainfall amounts may be sufficient to cause flooding of creeks and rivers in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon.”

While the exact details and rainfall amounts are not yet clear, the NWS is certain the heaviest rain will hit Wednesday night and then again Thursday night and Friday, even into Saturday.

“24-hour rain totals of 1 to 2 inches of rain is possible for the valleys and 3 to 6 inches for the coast range and the Cascades,” the NWS said. “The total rainfall for the event, from Wednesday night through Saturday morning will be around 2 to 4 inches for the valleys and 6 to 12 inches in the higher terrain.”

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The southern Oregon coast will not get as much rain, perhaps only half an inch. Higher amounts are forecast for the area of Florence through to the south Washington coast, and those rivers will be watched closely.

All this won't mean any major storm watch action for the Oregon coast, either, as swells will not be especially high out at sea. It will simply be an extremely damp few days on the beaches.

“With the threat of flooding Wednesday night through Friday, the primary concerns are creeks and rivers draining the Coast Range and the Cascade Ranges, both in Oregon and Washington. Creeks and smaller rivers in the Willamette and Coastal tributaries may also be impacted. At this time, flooding potential is low along the mainstem rivers,” the NWS said.

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