Pineapple Express Drenches Oregon, Coast Guard Rescues 50 From Flooded Campground

Heavy storms pelted Oregon and other parts of the Pacific Northwest for the second day in a row Friday, causing mudslides, shutting down roads and laying treacherous conditions for residents of some areas, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Coast Guard had to rescue about 50 people from a flooded RV park about 90 miles southwest of Portland with helicopters and a rescue swimmer.

The storms are caused by an atmospheric river known as the Pineapple Express, according to forecasters. Heavy rain was expected to continue in Oregon and Washington through Friday night, but potentially ease on Saturday. Additional rain is expected to come Saturday night through next week, according to the AP.

Authorities announced flood watches along the Oregon coast and cautioned that areas burned in wildfires last summer could see dangerous mudslides.

RVs parked at the campground were seen in photos sitting in water about six inches deep. In other areas, water rose as much as four feet high, the Statesman-Journal reported.

A separate RV park in the nearby town of Otis, Oregon, was flooded as well, and water was halfway up the doors of a fire engine that is parked permanently at the town's limits.

Russ Hiner, who was camping at the park as it flooded, wrote in a Facebook post that he was awakened shortly after 6 a.m. to the sound of someone driving their vehicle around the site and honking their horn in warning.

"Looking out the fogged up windows and see someone with a flashlight running around. They come and bang on the door, "The park is FLOODING! Everyone out,'" he wrote on Facebook. "Looks like there's six or 7 inches of standing water underneath us."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Pacific Northwest Storms
The U.S. Coast Guard used two helicopters to rescue about 50 people from rising waters at an RV park on the Oregon Coast Friday as heavy rains in the Pacific Northwest prompted warnings of floods and landslides. Cars make their way through a flooded roadway on Highway 18 in Lincoln County, Oregon. Sgt. Jack Dunteman/Lincoln County Sheriff's Department via AP

The Neskowin campground is tucked between two forks of Neskowin Creek and is about seven miles north of Otis, a tiny coastal community that was devastated by a wind-driven wildfire just over a year ago.

"We are OK for now ... but the rain in still coming," said Melynda Small, who lost her home to the fire in September 2020 and is worried about mudslides in the burn area.

In Oregon, the National Weather Service issued flood watches in several coastal counties and warned that heavy rains raised the risk of mudslides and debris flows in areas recently burned by wildfires.

More than two inches of rain fell in some areas in the western part of the state in a 24-hour period Thursday and heavy rains were expected to continue through Friday evening, the National Weather Service in Portland said. Astoria, in the state's far northwest corner, set a new record for rainfall Thursday with just over two inches of rain, the most since the previous record for the date set 70 years ago.

Standing water in the roadways made driving treacherous across the Portland metropolitan area and a woman was rescued from the swollen Santiam River on Thursday after her encampment along the river banks was flooded.

In Washington, advisories were issued for at least a half-dozen rivers in the western part of the state.

Landslides were reported on the coast, in southwest Oregon near the town of Elkton and along the Columbia River Highway east of Portland.

The storm also caused a power outage that closed several schools and district offices in a Portland suburb.

Rising Waters Flood Washington Park
Forecasters said the storms in the Pacific Northwest are being caused by an atmospheric river known as the Pineapple Express and rain was expected to remain heavy in Oregon and Washington through Friday night. An entrance to Tolt MacDonald Park is shown flooded as rain falls near Carnation, Washington. Ted S. Warren/AP Photo