Over the last month, Warm Springs has accumulated over 44 inches of snow. The record snowfall and extremely cold temperatures have kept the snow on the ground and on rooftops. Warmer temperatures and rain are predicted in our area this week. There is potential for excess water as melting occurs and possible flooding in some areas. In Warm Springs, a list of potential flooding sites has been established, based on prior events. 308 pre-filled, 60-lb sand bags were ordered to be used in extreme situations, according to Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Emergency Manager, Dan Martinez. He says in addition, approximately 200 empty sandbags are in stock and those will be filled and stored for flood control. 500 more bags and additional sand are being ordered, thanks to a State Emergency Preparedness Grant for Emergency Operations.
The situation is much the same throughout Central Oregon. ODOT Region Manager Bob Bryant is advising all concerned to be prepared for potential flooding. “Everyone in Central Oregon should be preparing for the next weather event, says Bryant. “Melting snow will turn into water, lots of water, and that water will likely lead to flooding and we need to begin preparing for that now”, he adds.
Rain on snow increases the possibility of flooding when storm drains and inlets are covered with snow, ice or slush. If the water can’t get into the storm drain, it can result in flooding. There are things you can do to protect yourselves and your property. Direct melt off away from structures by creating paths. Remember water will travel from high points to low points by the easiest means possible.
Sloped roofs can create safety risks as temperatures rise. Melting will bring down icicles and snow slabs off pitched roofs; be vigilant when entering or exiting a building to protect your safety.
The Tribes’ offices are closed on Monday, to allow inspection of tribal buildings. Of specific concern is snow weight on roofs and structural integrity of Tribal buildings. Snow removal will be done as needed.