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An 'atmospheric river' storm in early January brought high winds and heavy rain...damage...and power failures

DAVID F. ASHTON - In the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood East Precinct officers warned drivers that this large fallen tree limb was partially blocking S.E. Duke Street at 68th Avenue.The major winter storm that swept through Inner Southeast Portland January 11 and 12 brought winds gusting over 50 miles an hour, bringing down tree limbs all across the area – and it took down some trees as well.

Despite the wind, and a two-day rain total well over two inches in our part of town, the storm brought less precipitation than forecasters had expected – so said National Weather Service Portland Office Meteorologist Daniel Hartsock, after the sun reappeared on January 13.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Community volunteers Corinne Stefanick and Susan Schen cleared fallen limbs and branches from the Oaks Bottom Overlook pocket park. "Over the greater Portland area, there were maximum wind gusts reaching 55 mph, with a peak of 47 mph registered at Portland International Airport," Hartsock reported. "We were expecting up to 40 mph – but an unexpected squall line along the leading edge of the cold front produced the heavier winds [especially from late January 12 through 1 a.m. on January 13]."

The 48-hour rainfall total at the airport of 2.5" could have been more, Hartsock commented, "but the storm system moved through more quickly than our models showed" – so the precipitation shut down hours earlier than expected.

ERIC NORBERG - While most trees in Southeast withstood the windstorm, a big one came down here, at S.E. 18th Avenue and Claybourne Street - taking down electrical and other utility lines with it. Under clear skies on January 13th, longtime Westmoreland resident Corinne Stefanick enlisted the help of Susan Schen to help clean up the tree debris that littered the small Oaks Bottom Overlook "pocket park" on the Bybee Boulevard curve to 13th Avenue.

The pair spent the late morning and early afternoon picking up branches and raking related debris. "We're using the largest branches as edging for the park, and letting the other natural debris decompose," explained Stefanick.

"This is Portland Bureau of Transportation property, but the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE) has maintained it, after obtaining a permit to put in the picnic tables here," Stefanick told THE BEE. "We'd love to have more volunteers help us maintain it!"

To volunteer to help, contact her by email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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