Flood watch for South Coast; high winds for storm-weary valley

COOS BAY, Ore. - Heavy rain forecast to hit the southern Oregon Coast could trigger flooding, debris flows or landslides, forecasters said.

And high winds forecast to hit the Willamette Valley overnight could dislodge broken or weakened branches from trees damaged in last week's snow and ice torm. Gusts up to 45 mph are possible.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for the Coquille River at Coquille and the South Fork Coquille River at Myrtle Point.

The Flood Watch is in effect February 13 through February 17 for the Coquille River and February 15 through 16 for the South Fork Coquille River.

Landslides and debris flows are possible during this flood event. People, structures, and roads located below steep slopes, in canyons, and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk from rapidly moving landslides.

According to the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), caution should be used when traveling over the mountains during this time. The most dangerous places include:

Canyon bottoms, stream channels, and areas of rock and soil accumulation at the outlets of canyons.

Bases of steep hillsides.

Road cuts or other areas where slopes of hills have been excavated or over steepened.

Places where slides or debris flows have occurred in the past.

Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can easily travel a mile or more, depending on the terrain. They will contain boulders and logs and transport those in a fast-moving soil and water slurry.

Some areas are more hazardous than others when the danger of landslides is high. If there is a flood warning, stay away from the river. Stay away from steep slopes during intense rainstorms. Knowing ahead of time where the danger areas around your home for potential landslides might be is the first step in being prepared.