BEND, OR -- Warming weather forecast for early next week has local officials worried about the potential for flooding. Peter Murphy, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, says the flood danger is serious, given unprecedented snow totals. "We have more snow on the ground than I can remember and there is just really no place for it to go if we haven’t uncovered our street drains. Some people may even need sandbags. Now’s the time to prepare; don’t wait until we start seeing those warmer temperatures because by then it’s going to be too late."
Murphy tells KBND News, "We have been spending some time and money trying to uncover our highway drains, and that’s part of why we’re doing the snow removal process. But, it’s the same issue, whether it’s the county, the state or the city. It’s going to be a flood event, we’re preparing for it now, and we just think everybody else should, too." He acknowledges the massive amount of snow that fell over the past six weeks makes uncovering drains an issue. "We have kind of multiple problems in that you can’t find some of those street drains; and even if you do, it’s frozen. So, what we’re looking out there at is a potential for some flooding here in the area and we want people to start getting ready now to get ahead of it."
But, he says, it is possible to find and clear them, "What you look for is the low spot in the road; that’s where it goes. So, if you can find a low spot where you live and maybe poke around a little bit with a wooden handle, or something to that effect, you might have some success." In extreme cases, Murphy says sandbags may be necessary to protect property.
Temperatures are expected to warm into the forties Tuesday and Wednesday, with rain forecast for both days.