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Expected Snow Melt and Flood Prevention

Post Date:01/13/2017 12:58 PM

The Big Melt

With record breaking snow buildup on the ground and warmer temperatures and rain forecasted for Monday and Tuesday, it’s time to prepare for a big melt off. Rain on snow increases the possibility of flooding when storm drains and inlets are covered with snow, ice or slush. If the water can't get into the storm drain, it can result in flooding.

The majority of our storm water system relies on infiltrating water to the ground. A very small section of town drains to the river. When we have large rain and snow melt events, the ground becomes saturated, and infiltration rates diminish.

The City of Bend

Streets and Operations Department crews and contractors are currently widening streets which will assist transportation ease as well as helping to clear storm drains. They will likely plow streets more than once in coming days.

Utility crews this weekend will also work to clear blocked storm drains.

The Utility Department is getting mobile pumps and Vactor trucks ready to pump high water areas. If required, detours and street closures may be necessary to manage flooded areas.

There are things you can do to protect yourselves and your property. The sooner the better.

This is very important. Everyone needs to play a part.

Before the weather turns warmer and wetter, residents can help prevent and prepare for anticipated flooding. Residents who feel safe doing so can help keep storm drain inlets and swales open by using a shovel or rake. You may need to do this more than once.

Direct melt off away from structures by creating paths. Remember water will travel from high points to low points by the easiest means possible. Given this, you may want create safe pathways for water flow and/or obtain sand bags now.

Keep an eye on your neighborhood storm drains (grates on the streets and inlets within a curb area) especially as rain nears. If it is safe to do so, continue to clear snow, ice and slush that may otherwise block your storm drain inlet to help prevent localized flooding.

Do not pull up manhole covers. This can create additional sanitary sewer flooding issues in addition to health and safety hazards. Call Utilities at 541-317-3000 (ext. 2 for storm drain issues) if you feel that lifting a manhole would relieve a flooding situation. An answering service will dispatch calls over the weekend and after hours to staff in the field.

Helpful maps for the public.

Storm Drain and Fire Hydrant Map

(Instructions to use this are on the home page that opens automatically. You can enter your address in the search to find what’s in your neighborhood.)

Catch Basin Location Map (This link is also found on:

Safety tips

  • Sloped roofs can create safety risks as temperatures rise. Melting will bring down icicles and snow slabs off pitched roofs; be vigilant when entering or exiting a building to protect your safety.
  • Don’t forget to shovel out your fire hydrant. In the event of a fire, crucial firefighting time would be saved if firefighters didn’t have to shovel out the hydrant.

Parking Restrictions Downtown For Snow Removal

On Sunday night, Taylor NW will clear snow from downtown and will try to clear storm drains in advance of thawing. The plowing efforts will run from 11 p.m. through 7 a.m. Monday. There will be no parking allowed on the streets downtown after 10 p.m. Sunday night. Cars will be towed as needed, and towed cars will be found in the Troy Field and City Hall parking lots. Towed cars will not be fined. Map attached to this press release.

Roof snow load details per geographic area:

The collapse of an elementary school gym and commercial buildings has generated everyone’s concern. The City of Bend does not make recommendations on when to remove snow from roofs. It is up to the individual property owner to consider the benefits and dangers of snow removal and decide their own course of actions.

Highest concern buildings:

  • Flat roofs.
  • Areas with large open areas and no internal support, such as warehouses and gyms.

Structures built in Bend with building permits are designed to handle 20-25 pounds per square foot, which equates to about 20 inches of snow. Older structures, built before the adoption of building codes in Bend (late 1960’s), may not meet this minimum standard. Manufactured homes are designed to carry 20-30 pounds per square foot, or about 2 feet of snow.

In areas outside of Bend, structures built with building permits are designed to handle more weight per square foot. In La Pine, most structures should have 55 to 70 pounds per square foot roof capacity. In Sunriver, that capacity is 50 pounds per square foot of roof capacity. In Sisters, it is 35 pounds per square foot.

Any property owner in Deschutes County can check the ground snow load for their area by visiting, searching for their address and clicking Development. (Snow load details are available at the bottom of the page.)

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