Wild weather continues in Washington County
More rain, wind gusts expected Saturday afternoon and evening
High winds in Northwest Oregon are expected to continue for the rest of the day, continuing conditions that have downed trees, blocked roads and created power outages throughout the region.
High winds today have caused power outages for approximately 38,000 Portland General Electric customers in the greater Portland area. PGE reports that scores of crews are responding, and will work through the night and into the coming days to restore power as quickly as safety allows.
PGE also reports that every one of its available crews have been called out to work in this major restoration effort, also arranging for assistance to come from Pacific Gas & Electric, a northern California utility company whose crews will be arriving in Oregon on Sunday.
Outages are widely spread throughout the PGE service area. Following the intensive rains of the past several days, today's strong winds have toppled trees, taking down numerous power lines and power poles.
PGE reminds customers to stay away from any downed utility lines, especially in wet conditions, and to report any downed lines or power outages.
Call 503-464-7777 in Portland or 800-544-1795 to report downed lines or outages.
Outages can also be reported online at PortlandGeneral.com/outage. For more information, follow PGE on Twitter @PortlandGeneral and Facebook @PortlandGeneralElectric for outage updates.
Peak gusts still expected
A high wind warning for western Washington County and a wind advisory for the valley were first issued on Thursday by the National Weather Service. Rain began falling on Wednesday and has continued into the weekend, with wind gusts expected as high as 65 to 75 mph.
The biggest storm, remnants of Typhoon Songda, is expected to arrive this afternoon, and could bring stronger and potentially more damaging winds.
Those conditions, coupled with the possibility of downed trees, requires motorists to be extra careful.
"Drivers should turn on vehicle lights, increase following distance and slow down," said Melissa De Lyser, spokeswoman for the county's Land Use and Transportation department.
In Hillsboro, city officials have set up sandbag fill station at the Washington County Fairground tennis courts, 872 N.E. 28th Ave., located at the corner of Northeast 28th Avenue and Veterans Drive.
To request emergency response for a life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1.
Residents are being asked to clear leaves out of the street and off catch basins, to help forestall flooding. Residents are asked to make sure that their gutters and downspouts are clear, and to keep yard debris away from drainage ditches and steams.
According to ODOT, travelers should use extreme caution when driving and check for conditions on their route at tripcheck.com. Road closures are expected due to downed trees and high water, with the agency saying it plans to close any flooded highways which present a safety hazard.
"In the event of flooding, travelers should turn around," said De Lyser. "Property owners are encouraged to clear leaves and other debris from storm drains, gutters and culverts to prevent flooding."
An updated list of road closures in Washington County is available at wc-roads.com.
Travelers must obey road closure signs for their own safety and for the safety of highway workers, ODOT officials said in a written statement. Traveling through flooded roads could cause you to be swept away or stall in high water.
Heavy rain often means limited visibility, reduced tire traction and less predictable car handling.
Tips for traveling during heavy rain events:
Watch out for each other. In poor visibility, remember it may be harder to see people walking or biking.
Slow down. Allow more time to get where you are going and allow for plenty of distance between cars, which need two or three times more stopping distance on wet roads.
Look out for downed trees and other debris in the road.
Dont travel through high water and flooded roads. Driving through several inches of water can cause you to lose control of the car and could splash water into the engine and stall it. Lowering your speed helps you prepare for sudden stops caused by debris and other wet-weather hazards.
Disengage your cruise control.
Expect power outages. Traffic signals affected by power outages are treated as four-way stops.
Allow more time to reach your destination. In severe weather, closures and crashes can cause long delays.
Plan ahead by leaving extra time when driving in heavy rain and windy conditions