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Washington County prepares for heavy wind, rain

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - Washington County officials are warning of high water and winds this weekends, as the remains of a typhoon make their way toward Oregon this weekend.A high wind warning for western Washington County and a wind advisory for the valley were issued on Thursday by the National Weather Service. Winds are expected to increase rapidly throughout the afternoon, with peak gusts from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Rain began falling on Wednesday night and is expected to pick up going into the weekend. Gusts up to 65 to 75 mph over higher terrain are likely, county officials said. The strongest gusts in the valley may be up to 50 mph.

The biggest storm, remnants of Typhoon Songda, is expected to arrive Saturday afternoon, and could bring stronger and potentially more damaging winds.

High winds can result in tree damage, debris on roadways and power outages. Travelers encountering nonfunctioning traffic signals, should treat intersections as an all-way stop.

Heavy rain is expected throughout the region for the next several days, which can reduce visibility.

"Drivers should turn on vehicle lights, increase following distance and slow down," said Melissa De Lyser, spokeswoman for the county's Land Use and Transportation department.

In Hillsboro, city officials have set up sandbag fill station at the Washington County Fairground tennis courts, 872 N.E. 28th Ave., located at the corner of Northeast 28th Avenue and Veterans Drive.

City officials warn that residents will need to bring their own shovel to fill bags.

See flooding? Here’s who to call

In Hillsboro:

Call the city’s Public Works Department dispatch line at 503-615-6509 during regular business hours

In Washington County:

Call 503-846-7623 during regular business hoursor email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In urban unincorporated areas (such as Aloha):

Contact Clean Water Services at 503-681-3600

After hours:

Call call 503-629-0111

To request emergency response for a life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1.

Residents are being asked to clear leaves out of the street and off catch basins, to help forestall flooding. Residents are asked to make sure that their gutters and downspouts are clear, and to keep yard debris away from drainage ditches and steams.

According to ODOT, travelers should use extreme caution when driving and check for conditions on their route at tripcheck.com. Road closures are expected due to downed trees and high water, with the agency saying it plans to close any flooded highways which present a safety hazard.

"In the event of flooding, travelers should turn around," said De Lyser. "Property owners are encouraged to clear leaves and other debris from storm drains, gutters and culverts to prevent flooding."

An updated list of road closures in Washington County is available at wc-roads.com.

“Travelers must obey road closure signs for their own safety and for the safety of highway workers,” ODOT officials said in a written statement. “Traveling through flooded roads could cause you to be swept away or stall in high water.”

 Heavy rain often means limited visibility, reduced tire traction and less predictable car handling.

Tips for traveling during heavy rain events:

• Watch out for each other. In poor visibility, remember it may be harder to see people walking or biking.

• Slow down. Allow more time to get where you are going and allow for plenty of distance between cars, which need two or three times more stopping distance on wet roads.

• Look out for downed trees and other debris in the road.

• Don’t travel through high water and flooded roads. Driving through several inches of water can cause you to lose control of the car and could splash water into the engine and stall it. Lowering your speed helps you prepare for sudden stops caused by debris and other wet-weather hazards.

• Disengage your cruise control.

• Expect power outages. Traffic signals affected by power outages are treated as a four-way stop.

• Allow more time to reach your destination. In severe weather, closures and crashes can cause long delays.

• Plan ahead by leaving extra time when driving in heavy rain and windy conditions.