The National Weather Service warned the Umatilla River would flood Monday at Gibbon about 20 miles east of Pendleton.
Flooding there starts at 7 feet. The service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction showed the river was at 7.03 feet at 3:15 p.m. and on the way to 7.49 feet during the evening. The most recent crest there was on March 10, 2014, when the water hit 7.93 feet.
The federal agency issued a flood warning for the Umatilla along that stretch, as well as flood warnings for the Grande Ronde, Imnaha, North Fork and main body of the John Day rivers.
The North Fork of the John Day River reached 11.2 feet at Monument by 8:30 a.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Pendleton, and could reach 14.9 feet Monday night. Flooding there starts at 14 feet.
And in the late afternoon flooding forced evacuations along Canyon Creek in Canyon City, Grant County.
Hydrologist Marilyn Lohmann with the National Weather Service in Pendleton said around one-half inch to an inch of rain fell over much of the Blue Mountains during the weekend, although some sites had 2 inches. Creeks and streams coming off the Blues, she said, are running “quite high and fast.”
Umatilla County emergency manager Tom Roberts said he checked out some places Monday morning. Water from the Umatilla inundated fields at Nolin near Rieth, and the Bureau of Reclamation reported McKay Reservoir south of Pendleton was at 93 percent capacity, so the dam was releasing water. He advised Community Park, Pendleton, where McKay Creek runs, could have some standing water.
Still, he said, for longtime locals, this is the kind of thing they have come to expect and deal with in the early spring.
Lohmann also said the rain should ease off starting Tuesday. The last front raised the freezing level to 8,000 feet.
The next system moves in Wednesday, she said, and looked to be a “fast hitter” that while bringing some rain will drop the freezing level to about 5,000-6,000 feet.