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New Bend Storm Dumps Heavy Rain; Underpasses Flood Again

Published On: Apr 22 2013 09:32:11 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 11 2009 10:21:51 AM CDT

Another intense storm dumped heavy rain on the Bend area Wednesday evening, closing all three major underpasses for a time and causing high water in many locations.

Officials said the Third Street, Greenwood Avenue and Franklin Avenue underpasses were closed by high water shortly before 7:30 p.m., though the Greenwood Avenue route reopened a few minutes later.

Bend Public Works crews returned to Third Street and learned the pump there had stopped working, and said it should clear fast once it was restarted. That underpass was reported open about an hour after it shut, and the Franklin underpass by 8:45 p.m., as the sun set and lighter rain continued to fall on parts of the city - with more rain Thursday morning

The citywide downpour came about 24 hours after intense thunderstorms pelted much of Central Oregon with heavy rain that flooded Bend underpasses and enough hail to shovel, presumably reducing the threat that lightning will spark new fires, at least for now.

The National Weather Service issued an urban and small stream flood advisory for the Bend-Redmond area from 3:12 to 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, as a thunderstorm produced heavy rain over the city of Bend, and was moving north toward Redmond.

There were reports of hail a few inches deep in downtown Bend and nearby areas, while the dime-sized hail and rain mix combined to again cause flooding problems that shut the Third Street underpass, a traditional trouble spot. Cars were stalling out in three feet of water in the Greenwood Avenue underpass as well and more problems at the Franklin Avenue underpass.An NWS weather spotter in southeast Bend reported 1.46 inches of rain in about a half-hour. Other spotters reported heavy rain, street flooding and penny- to dime-sized hail covering the ground - four inches deep in some places.

And flooding still caused traffic headaches as the evening commute arrived, even though the rain had stopped. The Greenwood Avenue underpass reopened to both directions by 5:30 p.m.

It took until late Tuesday night to pump out and reopen the Third Street and Franklin Avenue underpasses, officials said.

Earlier, a home on Highway 126 in the Cloverdale area near Sisters was struck by lightning, filling it with smoke and causing about $20,000 in damage.

Some Bend Area Transit and Dial-A-Ride buses were pulling over due to problems with frozen windshield wipers - a problem many motorists faced - as Deschutes County 911 dispatchers were getting numerous calls on alarms triggered by the storms.

Forecasters warned motorists not to drive into areas where water crosses the road. ODOT spokesman Peter Murphy said motorists were running into "slushy" conditions on the Bend Parkway.

NewsChannel 21 Chief Meteorologist Christian Boris said the worst of the storm was over in Bend by 3:40 p.m., with nothing major coming up from the south, but Redmond was being hit.

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