Flooding slams Oregon Coast, closes portion of Hwy 101

Oregon Coast

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portions of the Oregon Coast were slammed with flooding after heavy rains and snowmelt affected the region and the state.

Officials announced just before 7:30 p.m. that the southbound lane on Highway 101 north of Bone River near milepost 46.5 is closed due to water on the roadway.

ODOT cameras showed Highway 101 flooded two miles south of Seaside where the Necanicum River approached the road. Meanwhile, a portion of OR-47 at the intersection with Nehalem Highway has completely collapsed and drifted away due to flooding.

Please avoid the area and use caution while traveling nearby.

Parts of the city of Warrenton are underwater tonight as tide gates have struggled to keep up with added water from rain and snow melt. 

Some streets are closed along with schools and the mayor declared an emergency to free up assets to try to stop flooding.

Mayor Henry Balensifer took a KOIN 6 News crew on a tour of water-logged yards and streets in Warrenton. 

“About an hour ago there was literally a river of currents going across here, over the road over the sidewalk, into the drainage ditch there,” Balensifer said.

The water has been knocking on the door of some homes, especially in the Flavel District off Northwest Warrenton Drive near Alder Creek.  

At 7th and Iredale, in the Hammond District, water flowed over the intersection. “This is the worst it’s been in a long time,” Paden Bailey said. Bailey tried to clear a blocked drains so his driveway would stop flooding.

In Old Town Warrenton near the head of Alder Creek, near Elm, water pushed its way up from a drain rather than flowing down into it.

For several hours today, there was practically a raging river,” Balensifer said.

Balensifer says some pumps have been sounding “high water alarms” indicating the water is beyond the pump’s capacity. 

The mayor says public works crews are working overtime to make sure the tide gates are closing and are removing obstructions from ditches like Christmas trees. The mayor says he’s personally removed quite a few himself.

Fire crews are also helping to pump water out of culverts and into rivers like the Skipanon. Crews also used a truck from the Oregon Military Department to get as much done as possible before the next high tide.

“Luckily the tide is starting to go down, so we are seeing some relief, we’re really concerned about tomorrow,” Balensifer said.

The mayor says tides are a major concern. He said their low tides aren’t that low and they are expecting more high tides tomorrow. 

Officials are only recommending people try to drive through the flooded section if they have a vehicle that isn’t low to the ground because the water is pretty deep. Several drivers had to turn around, and others pulled over to wait and see if conditions would get any better.

“I was thinking of maybe going through, but maybe that’s not going to happen,” said Daisy Woodward, a driver en route to Seaside. “Should’ve brought the truck.”

Several schools in the area also let out early Thursday to make sure kids could get home safely.

Ted McLean, the Clatsop County Public Works director, said the flooding we’re seeing is worse than normal because of the perfect combination of high tide, high winds, snowmelt and rain that just won’t quit.

“We’re expecting it to be worse,” McLean said. “The rain is still continuing, the high tide here won’t be here until close to 3:30 or 4:00, so again people are going to need to use caution if they need to get out.”

Officials urged the public not to attempt crossing flooded roads, as there’s always the possibility of debris under the water you can’t see.

Clatsop County has a list of road closures here. To check road closures across the state, visit ODOT’s interactive map here.

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