A now regular sight in Bend—waist deep snow. Photo taken by Magdalena Bokowa.
With warmer temperatures and rain set to hit the area early next week, the Cities of Bend and Redmond are warning of the "Big Melt"—and want you to adequately prepare. The Bend area currently has a near record breaking accumulated snow pack of 50 inches, all at a risk of melting when warmer conditions begin Monday and leading to serious concerns about flooding.
Record setting snow accumulations have meant that roadways are packed to the brim and drainage access points being blocked. With blockages and large amounts of melt, there is a big possibility that flooding may occur. Contrary to popular belief, very little water drains to our rivers and so storm water systems are crucial to the system. As the City of Bend reports on their website "The majority of our storm water system relies on infiltrating water to the ground...When we have large rain and snow melt events, the ground becomes saturated, and infiltration rates diminish."
With crews working diligently this weekend to try and clear storm drains, the city is asking for citizens to play their own part.
“Due to the large number of storm drains throughout the city, it is not possible for public works to clear them all by early next week,” said Bill Duerden, Director of Public Works. “It would be an enormous help if residents, whenever possible, can lend a hand to clear storm drains in front of their homes.”
Here's what you can do to help keep flooding at a minimum:
(From the City
Before the weather turns warmer and wetter, residents can help prevent and prepare for anticipated flooding. Residents who feel safe doing so can help keep storm drain inlets and swales open by using a shovel or rake. You may need to do this more than once.
Direct melt off away from structures by creating paths. Remember water will travel from high points to low points by the easiest means possible. Given this, you may want create safe pathways for water flow and/or obtain sand bags now.
Keep an eye on your neighborhood storm drains (grates on the streets and inlets within a curb area) especially as rain nears. If it is safe to do so, continue to clear snow, ice and slush that may otherwise block your storm drain inlet to help prevent localized flooding.
Do not pull up manhole covers. This can create additional sanitary sewer flooding issues in addition to health and safety hazards. Call Utilities at 541-317-3000 (ext. 2 for storm drain issues) if you feel that lifting a manhole would relieve a flooding situation. An answering service will dispatch calls over the weekend and after hours to staff in the field.
In addition, try and help snow crews out and in instances where you do not need to park on the street—don't! Specifically on Sunday night from 11pm-7am, there will be an overnight plowing effort in downtown Bend and any cars found parked overnight will be towed to Troy field (no fines will be incurred.)
For additional safety information and detailed flood prevention program, please see here.