PENDLETON — A flood watch released Thursday morning by the National Weather Service is in effect for northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington until Saturday morning.
According to the flood watch, a slow moving weather system will produce excessive rainfall throughout the Blue Mountains and foothills, the Grande Ronde Valley and Wallowa County.
Areas could see as much as 1 to 3 inches with the majority of rainfall expected in the Blue and Wallowa mountains, leading to rising water levels in streams and rivers coming out of the mountains.
“A flood watch means conditions are forecast to occur or continue and to add to already high running rivers and streams, causing a possibility of flooding,” Ann Adams, assistant forecaster at the National Weather Service in Pendleton, said.
Adams said the watch covers a large region and the Weather Service is also monitoring gauges along some of the main rivers as the storms roll into the area. To help deliver current weather status, she said forecasters are updating the weather service’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/nwspendleton, Twitter account, @nwspendleton and the website, www.weather.gov/pdt.
“Flood watches are more generalized,” Adams said. “In the Blue Mountains, foothills, Wallowa County or Grande Ronde Valley — any rivers or streams in that type area could possibly flood with the additional rainfall.”
Watches and warnings are posted in both a text version as well as colored graphs on the Service’s Pendleton website, Adams said.
“If we have any weather graphics, what we call ‘weather stories’, they will be at the top of the page along with a map of our area of responsibility — Central and Northeastern Oregon and central and southeastern Washington,” she said. “The shaded green areas shows where it’s covering and it’s a good way to just get first impressions.”
As forecasters keep an eye on critical flooding areas, Adams said more detailed information will be released in the case of an actual flood warning — a higher threat, meaning flooding is imminent.