As rain continues, expect more landslides

Portland metro area has seen just 16 dry days since January 1

A landslide blocked all northbound lanes of I-5 north of Dike Road in Woodland, February 16, 2017.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been a soaker of a year so far, and as the rain continues, experts say people should be prepared for more landslides.

KOIN 6 Meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke says the Portland metro area has seen just 16 dry days since January 1.

All that rain has caused numerous landslides, including one that shut down a stretch of SR-503 in Washington on Tuesday. Just a day earlier, a landslide suspended Amtrak service between Kelso and Vancouver.

A landslide blocked traffic on Hwy 26 at the Oregon Zoo on March 9, 2017. (ODOT)

“It has been an exceptionally wet year. We’ve been seeing landslides pretty consistently,” Ali Ryan Hansen with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries said. “And we are really just getting started with the wet weather.”

Big landslides that block roads and highways can cause major backups.

Hansen said her department keeps a close eye on each landslide that gets reported, and drivers can be on the lookout for things like mud or rocks showing up where they usually aren’t, that can often be a sign of an impending slide.

“Those all can be indicators that the land is moving,” she said.

Interactive Map: Statewide Landslide Information Layer for Oregon

If your home is on a hillside, it can also see damage from landslides.

“Are there fences that are leaning?” Hansen asked. “Are there trees that are leaning? Have cracks appeared in your foundation and wall?”

She also said to remember this: If it’s raining, it may just be the beginning.

“When you hear there’s a flood watch, when you’re seeing that pouring down rain, know that landslide risk comes along with that,” Hansen said.

For more information about debris flow and landslide warnings, click here.