From snowplows to sandbags: This is what’s next

Kate Brown has issued a state of emergency and is prepping for floods

A snowplow and sandbags in the Portland area (KOIN, file)
A snowplow and sandbags in the Portland area (KOIN, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Wondering when all this snow is going to melt?

Well, it might be a few more days. And when it does melt, well, get ready for the floods.

Flood hazard areas

Governor Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency due to weather conditions this week. Brown and other leaders are coming together to make a plan for the expected flooding.

“I think it’s absolutely key we insure the safety of Oregonians across the state,” Brown said. “We’ve been reaching out throughout the entire northwest to make sure we have both the people power and the hardware to do what we need to do.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation has been hard at work cleaning up after the storm, already spending millions in the past 3 weeks alone.

“We’re running fast, and that’s running out our people and running out our equipment,” Matt Garrett with ODOT said.

A frozen over Johnson Creek at 92nd and Flavel Street on January 7, 2017. (KOIN)
A frozen over Johnson Creek at 92nd and Flavel Street on January 7, 2017. (KOIN)

Officials are urging everyone to have an emergency kit on hand at home that would last at least 2 weeks. That message is vital for people in areas around Johnson Creek, which is notorious for flooding during heavy rain.

Joshua Clevenz lives near the creek and says he is getting ready.

“I know whenever a big thaw happens, it’ll all flow down in to the river over here and it’s going to quite interesting when it all melts down,” he said.

Clevenz hopes his neighbors stay aware.

“I’d like to think that with some of the previous smaller storms we’ve had, people will be more alert,” Clevenz said. “But I’m still going to imagine people are going to be blindsided by this.”

What to expect and when

Friday morning temperatures were record cold, causing much of the snow to turn icy. It was the coldest morning at the Portland International Airport since December 2013.

The cold and dry conditions will last into the weekend with temperatures slowly warming to above freezing by Sunday afternoon.

Portland record cold temps:
11 degrees, broke daily record fron 1950
Coldest January day at PDX since 1963
Coldest morning in Portland since 1998

But then the pattern takes a dramatic shift.

PDX Weather app

Heavy rain heads our way Monday night with a possible atmospheric river setting up through early Thursday.

By Tuesday and Wednesday, the temperatures will warm to the upper 40s. But the combination of heavy rain and snow melt will bring more severe weather to the area.

The heaviest rains could bring more than 5 inches along the coast and coastal mountain areas. The Willamette Valley could see 2 to 4 inches or rain, and the Cascades could receive 3 to 5 inches of rain.

The snow melt is one factor, but the heavy rains will be the more significant factor in the weather system.

The exact timing of the storm system is not quite locked in. Stay with the KOIN 6 Weather Team for all the latest information.