Thunderstorms rolled through Central Oregon Thursday afternoon bringing a lot of heavy rain, thunder and lightning. It led to flooded roads and at least one tree was struck by lightning.
The storm reached Bend a little before 2:00 p.m.
Several streets in the city flooded, including at underpasses on Franklin Avenue and Greenwood Avenue at NE 1st Street. At least one car appeared to get stuck in the water beneath the 1st and Greenwood underpass.
Troy Beck with the City of Bend says those two underpasses are prioritized during storm events.
“The vactor trucks remove about 2,000 gallons of water each about 4 or 5 minutes a piece and then the street department comes in and starts removing all the sedimentation and debris, which you can see them doing now,” Beck said.
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The City tries to send out five vactors to predetermined positions shortly before the severe weather begins.
“But the City of Bend over the next five years has almost 20 million dollars of identified capital improvements in our storm water system, so it is an ongoing process,” Beck added.”
Major flooding on 3rd Street was due to construction in the area by the Oregon Department of Transportation, leading for the need to drain water from the street
“We are sort of in between having a place where there was a connection to drain the water, where there isn’t one right now, but there will be when we are done with the project,” said Peter Murphy with ODOT.
The project includes working on things like new lighting, draining, sidewalks and road surface.
“It’s a major redo of the whole area, from Empire all the way down to Greenwood and from Greenwood out,” Murphy said. “So, this is a multimillion dollar project. It was drainage included, we just got caught in the middle of it right now.”
This may be a recurring problem during the project, which isn’t expected to end until 2023.
“It just takes a while to clear out,” Murphy added. “People need to be aware that it may happen again because of the weather that we have.”
In Southeast Bend near Gardenside Park, lighting hit a tree and got the attention of resident Mike Davis.
“It was like a bomb went off,” Davis said. “Literally a ‘boom,’ the house shook. There was a big, orange fireball.”
Davis said there was a power surge with it, causing him to have to turn his appliances back on.
Farther north in Warm Springs, the Oregon Department of Transportation reported a landslide on Highway 26 Thursday afternoon. Traffic was being restricted to one lane with flaggers at the scene.