Lower Columbia River levels to remain high, fast
Portland, OR – Residents and river user along the lower Columbia River can expect higher-than-normal water levels over the next week, according to federal water managers and meteorologists.
Water managers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Northwestern Division, are adjusting water storage and releases throughout the Columbia River Basin to safely manage increases in runoff from recent heavy rains and ongoing snowmelt from northern Washington to western Montana. Those areas are experiencing significant flooding at this time.
The Columbia River at Vancouver is predicted to reach flood stage of 16 feet this week, according to the National Weather Service. Flows are forecast to remain high for at least the next 10 days, likely holding the gage at Vancouver to within 1-foot of flood stage.
Public safety is a priority and the public is urged to follow local emergency management official’s guidance. The Columbia River is flowing fast and water temperatures are at about 55 degrees. There is also a lot of debris ins the water, so boaters should remain vigilant, Corps officials cautioned.
If river levels at Vancouver rise above 16 feet some islands and low areas will experience flooding with minor impacts to parks and trails along the river. To track and understand direct impacts please visit the National Weather Service’s Northwest River Forecast Center website at www.nwrfc.noaa.gov.
Federal dams throughout the Columbia River Basin are operated as a system with a primary objective to minimize flooding in the lower basin, especially at Portland and Vancouver.