Potential for landslides up in Jackson County

A flood watch continues for Southern Oregon through Wednesday afternoon, increasing the likelihood for landslides in the area.

The National Weather Service said the flood watch is due to predicted rainfall in the region. That rainfall can oversaturate and loosen the soils, which can lead to landslides.

The Oregon Department of Geology said motorists who are traveling in the region should exercise caution when traveling over mountainous areas. Motorists should be alert when driving, especially at night, as roadside embankments can collapse and send rock and other debris into the roadway.

The most high-risk areas for landslides and debris flows include the bases of steep hillsides, road cuts and other areas where hills have been steepened, and in the bottoms of canyons.

Debris flows are high-speed landslides that can travel over a mile and wipe out everything in their path. River or stream water that suddenly turns muddy is a sign of a potential debris flow, Department of Geology officials said in a news release.

One to three inches of rain are expected in the west side valley areas by Wednesday, with two to four inches predicted for higher elevations.

"Urban and small stream flooding is likely during this time period," NWS officials said in a statement released this morning.

— Ryan Pfeil

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