Storm floods Oregon Coast, slaps Portland with high winds


by ERIC ADAMS and Staff

Posted on November 17, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 17 at 1:11 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Oregon Coast and areas of western and southwestern Washington were battered by high winds and even floodwaters in some places as a winter storm rolled into the Northwest.

In Seaside, high winds blew the roof off the old city hall on Broadway. The building was set to be turned into a coffee shop and was undergoing remodeling. There were no reports of injuries. Witnesses said it looks like part of the roof came off and the construction fencing blew into the building.

Meteorologists issued a flood warning as well as high surf and high wind advisories through Tuesday, with seas climbing up to 30 feet. National Weather Service Meteorologist Jonathan Wolfe said one to two inches of rain fell in just the past 12 hours on the Oregon coast.  The Oregon Department of Transportation said Monday evening that about a foot of water covered U.S. Highway 101 just south of Seaside and traffic was being temporarily restricted to "high-profile" vehicles.

"It has been downright busy over the past 24 hours. The good news however is that the wind has peaked and is much calmer now," KGW Meteorologist Nick Allard said on Tuesday morning.

There was also some flooding in lower areas along the Coast as the storm pushed in, with a foot of of water on U.S. 101. ODOT said there would be intermittent closures.

Tillamook Emergency Manager Gordon McCraw said winds were gusting between 75-90 mph.

Gusts were expected to remain high until  around midnight. For the highlands the winds were expected to be 30-40 gusting to 65-75mph, McCraw said.

Residents were cautioned to prepare their property early Monday to the potential for wind damage. The city of Seaside asked residents to limit phone use and prioritize their driving and electricity use in the event of power outages.

Portland General Electric was responding to a handful of power outages in Oregon City and Forest Grove. In Vancouver, crews were responding to downed trees and a number of power outages.

Colder air and rains were forecast to push in behind the winds, Allard said, and it all should hit the Willamette Valley early Tuesday.

"Look for wet weather just about everywhere, with calmer conditions," he said, and as colder temperatures move inland the snow levels would drop.

Fresh mountain snow was expected Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Showers and winds were forecast through Thursday for northern Oregon and southwestern Washington, according to the KGW 7-Day Forecast.