Flood Watch Issued for Southwest Oregon: Debris Flow Risk in Multiple Counties

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for several areas in southwest Oregon, effective from Sunday evening, September 24th, through Monday evening, September 25th. The affected regions include central Douglas County, the Curry County coast, eastern Curry County, Josephine County, and the south-central Oregon coast.

This Flood Watch is prompted by the anticipation of moderate to heavy rainfall in these areas. The concern extends beyond flooding, as the recent wildfires, including the Smith River Complex, the Flat Fire, the Anvil Fire, and the Tyee Complex, have left the region vulnerable to debris flows.

Debris flows, characterized by rapid movement and extreme destructive potential, are fast-moving landslides that can carry massive boulders and logs along with soil and water. These flows can extend for over a mile and travel faster than a person can run, posing a significant risk to people, structures, and roads in their path.

Residents, workers, and travelers in the watch areas are advised to take precautionary measures:

  • Stay Informed: Keep aware of the flood watch updates through various sources, such as radio, TV, weather radio, or online platforms. If evacuation orders are issued, follow them promptly.
  • Stay Vigilant: Pay attention to unusual sounds, which may signal the movement of debris, like trees cracking or boulders colliding. Even a small trickle of falling mud or debris could precede a more substantial landslide. If you sense danger, evacuate immediately.
  • Monitor Water: Be watchful of changes in water conditions, such as sudden muddiness or fluctuations in water flow in streams or creeks, as these can indicate upstream disturbances. In such cases, evacuate the area promptly to avoid potential debris flows downstream.
  • Travel Safely: Exercise extreme caution when traveling, especially at night. Assume that roads may not be secure due to potential embankment failures that can deposit rocks and debris onto the road.

For the latest updates and comprehensive information on landslides and debris flows, you can visit this link.

In these challenging conditions, the safety of residents and travelers should be the top priority. It is essential to heed the warnings and take necessary precautions to minimize the risks associated with flood-related hazards and debris flows. Stay safe and stay informed.

Source: NWS Medford

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