Skip to Content

Second day of heavy rain brings more flooding


A second day of intense thunderstorms and heavy rainfall Friday were causing high-water problems on the High Desert, while a landslide and rockfall blocked Highway 26 west of Mitchell for a time.

The National Weather Service in Pendleton issued an urban and small stream flood advisory for northwest Crook County and north-central Deschutes County shortly before 5 p.m., extending until 7:45 p.m.

Forecasters said trained weather spotters reported heavy rain causing water over roadways in Prineville and Powell Butte. Water was reported over portions of Highway 126 in the Powell Butte area.

They warned of possible flooding from Redmond and Terrebonne to Prineville, Powell Butte and Alfalfa. They warned motorists not to drive into areas where water covers the road, as it can be hard to gauge the water depth for safe crossing. Instead, move to higher ground.

A landslide was reported on Highway 26 six miles west of Mitchell and a rockfall 13 miles west Mitchell.

Rock Creek apparently overflowed its banks and sent mud and debris across the two-lane road, Oregon State Police spokesman Bill Fugate said.

ODOT spokesman Peter Murphy said both lanes were expected to be cleared by early evening., and TripCheck’s map indicated it was clear by 6:30 p.m.

NewsChannel 21 meteorologist Travis Knudsen said Friday’s storms were not as widespread or intense as Thursday’s, and had some good news for those venturing outdoors over the holiday weekend.

“Overall, the state will be drying out over the next few days, and more pleasant weather is on the way,” with highs climbing to the 70s, he said.

Thunderstorms brought intense downpours that brought high water to areas of southern Redmond late Thursday afternoon, amid flash flood warnings and watches for much of the region.

A flash flood watch was in effect from 3 p.m. Thursday to 3 p.m. Friday for the Grande Ronde Valley, John Day Basin, Northern and Southern Blue Mountains, Ochoco-John Day Highlands and Wallowa County. There’s also one in effect until 9 p.m. Thursday for the east slopes of the Oregon Cascades.

A flash flood warning was issued until 7:30 p.m. for west-central Crook and north-central Deschutes counties, as weather spotters reported flash flooding in the Bend-Redmond metro area.

The flash flood warning was canceled around 6 p.m. Thursday as the heavy rain ended, though forecasters warned drivers to still use caution on area roads.

Some roads in southern Bend had high water, and high water closed the Yew Avenue underpass on Highway 97 on Redmond’s south end, in the late afternoon according to dispatchers and weather spotters.

Other streets in southwest Redmond had a foot or more of standing water, and a lane of northbound Highway 97 in the city’s downtown core was reported underwater for a time.

Redmond Airport reported a record rainfall of 1.08 inches Thursday, snapping the old May 21 record of 0.69, set in 1994. That reportedly included nearly an inch of rain in just 45 minutes, from 3 to 3:45 p.m., the NWS said.

As heavy rain fell and thunder boomed from dark skies in the Bend area, Redmond fire crews responded Friday afternoon to a report of a lightning strike near a home with a “ball of flame” seen near SW Helmholtz and Wickiup Avenue.

A thankfully more rare occurrence on the High Desert, debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can easily travel a mile or more, depending on the terrain. They will transport boulders and logs in a fast-moving soil and water slurry.

“Intense rainfall is a common landslide trigger,” says Ali Ryan, earth science information officer for the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries ( DOGAMI ). “Debris flows are possible during this event, so it’s important to be aware of the potential hazard and avoid areas with steep terrain.”

For latest flash flood watch updates, visit

People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk. Caution should be used when traveling. According to DOGAMI , 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.

Learn more about landslides and debris flows and how to prepare for them:
Statewide Landslide Information Database (SLIDO)

Landslide and debris flow resources:

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ News Team


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content