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Heavy rainfall from a thunderstorm Thursday evening causes 'river' across roadway

CROOK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Flooding submerged multiple Powell Butte roads.

Stormy weather Thursday evening caused flash flooding in Powell Butte that submerged roadways and damaged homes and property.

According to a Crook County Sheriff's Office report, the flooding started shortly after 5 p.m. Sgt. Mitch Madden said that the Powell Butte area received a significant amount of rainfall during a thunderstorm that blew through the area.

Crook County deputies were dispatched to the area of Southwest Juniper Drive and Southwest Hahlen Drive. While responding, they encountered a large amount of water in the ditches along Powell Butte Highway near Juniper Drive.

As deputies arrived in the area of Powell Butte Highway Southwest Shumway Road/Bussett Road, they were greet by a river running down the road with "bowling ball sized" rocks blocking the road, Madden reported. One deputy who did make it to Hahlen Road and found that a culvert had been washed out.

By 6 p.m., flood waters had reached Powell Butte Highway between Southwest Cronin Road and Bussett Road. At that point, the highway had about 12 inches of flowing water across both lanes.

The waters ended up eroding the shoulder/ditch at the Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID) canal bridge, prompting a roadway closure which lasted a couple hours.

Because of the extra volume of water flowing into the canal, COID was contacted to assess the amount of water flowing into their canal, but no issues or concerns from the district were noted.

The Crook County Road Department was dispatched to the Powell Butte area to assist with assessing roadway integrity and cleaning up the flood aftermath. The workers utilized a sweeper and a grader to clear the debris in the area.

The extent of damage to county-maintained roads and/or privately maintained roads is unknown at this time, Madden said. At least one home sustained structural damage as a result of the flood as well, but no information on the extent of the damage was made available.

"The Crook County Sheriff's Office would like to remind you to monitor rapidly changing weather conditions during thunderstorms," Madden stated. "Thunderstorms can quickly develop and produce a large amount of rainfall that could potentially catch you in a dangerous situation, not to mention the lightning danger. Flood waters can travel long distances from an active storm. If you encounter a flooded roadway, 'Turn around, don't drown.'"

The National Weather Service has also predicted more thunderstorm activity Friday through Saturday night, Madden added. "Please monitor any weather service media or weather service app on your smartphone."

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