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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Recommendations to Stay Safe During Heavy Rainfall


Heavy rain and showers resulted in localized street flooding around the City of Portland yesterday. The National Weather Service forecast calls for continued heavy rainfall through the weekend. Portland Fire & Rescue offers citizens the following recommendations to stay safe during heavy rainfall:


  • Go slowly. Slow down and increase following distances. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. When it rains, visibility is reduced and braking distances increase.
  • Light up. Use low-beam headlights to help others see your car and increase your visibility.
  • Be careful of standing and running water. As little as six inches of water on a road can cause most drivers to lose control of their vehicle. Do not drive through moving water or flooded areas.
  • Be a follower. Driving in the tracks of other vehicles can improve traction and help avoid hydroplaning.
  • Use Emergency Flashers. If visibility and driving conditions are poor, turn on your emergency flashers and get to a safe place – if possible a rest stop or parking lot. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.
  • Use your wipers. Turn on windshield wipers as soon as rain begins to fall. Set intermittent wipers to a speed that will clear the windshield well enough to prevent visibility from being compromised.
  • Keep it clear. Use your defroster with your air conditioning to keep the air dry and prevent windows from fogging.
  • Watch for pedestrians and bicyclists making their way around standing water, especially in low light conditions.
  • Obey barricades. Do not drive around barricades that close or restrict access to a street due to high water, downed trees, downed power lines, or debris slides. Disobeying a barricade that has a street closure or other message sign on it is a Class B violation according to Oregon Vehicle Code and may result in a $360 fine.

Weather Forecasts

  • Listen to the experts. Heed the warnings of emergency officials and do not attempt to drive on closed roads or into evacuated areas.

Street Flooding

  • Clean storm drain inlets near your property before and after a heavy rainfall. Individuals, households, and businesses can help lessen street flooding by cleaning the storm drain inlets near their property before and after a heavy rainfall. To clear debris from a catch basin, stand on the curb and use a rake or pitch fork to remove fallen limbs, leaves, and debris from the grate so that water can drain easily. Do not attempt to remove the grate, only the debris on top of the grate. Dispose of the debris properly by putting leaves and branches in your curbside yard debris containers and other debris in your trash receptacle. Do not sweep the debris into the gutter. For leaves that have fallen on the street, rake them about a foot from the curb, allowing water to flow to the catch basin without the leaves.
  • Call for Help! If you are unable to clear a catch basin yourself, notify the City’s Dispatch line at 503-823-1700 that help is needed at a particular location. Crews will respond as resources and conditions allow.

For information on local street closures and other service alerts related to winter weather emergencies, visit

   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   December 10, 2010


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Spam Prevention In the Pacific Northwest, what state is Portland in?