HomeWorld NewsWillamette and Columbia rivers swell after intense rains

Willamette and Columbia rivers swell after intense rains

Flood watch in effect at 2 locations along the Columbia River

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Record rainfall over the past few days has raised water levels in area rivers and, coupled with melting snow, officials are concerned about possible flooding.

Portland’s Eastbank Esplanade was closed as authorities said the Willamette River rose and affected the floating path amid a weekend of heavy rain.

The closure, from north of the Morrison Bridge to south of the Steel Bridge, began on Sunday and will last until further notice on river conditions. However, officials expect water levels to drop sufficiently by Wednesday.

A Portland summer hotspot, Poet’s Beach along the Willamette River, has disappeared, covered by rising water levels with just a glimpse of a “no lifeguard” warning sign appearing.

Across the Willamette, logs and wood debris have started to pile up as the region experiences record rainfall and snowmelt in the summer.

“This late spring, early summer, wet and cold weather is abnormal and the rivers are high and muddy,” said Dave Slover, owner of Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe.

As Fleet Week winds down, the Harbor Master monitors levels in the Willamette River. So far, it does not appear that the river has reached levels that could impact the ability of ships to leave.

Visitors and pedestrians will not be in the way between SE Ash Street and near SE Everett Street.

The Esplanade is a multi-use trail along the Willamette River, with a wooden deck 1,200 feet above the water below the Burnside Bridge.

An atmospheric river that dumped tons of water on the metropolitan area swelled streams and some rivers flooding in Oregon and southwestern Washington This weekend.

Flood watches are in effect for the Columbia River at two locations:

  • In Vancouver: June 12, 3 a.m. to June 15, 11 a.m.
  • At Longview: June 13, 3:00 a.m. to June 14, 6:00 a.m.

In Washougal, rising waters from the Columbia River caused parts of Captain William Clark Park to flood.

As people head outdoors for fun in the summer, local kayaking and boating experts suggest sticking to calmer lakes above flooded rivers for now and always carrying a life jacket.

“As long as people are wearing them, regardless of weather conditions, it keeps everyone on the surface and floating and able to get to shore or back to their boat,” Slover said.

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