In the community

Malheur River on rise again, flooding expected between Vale and Ontario

UPDATE: The National Weather Service reported that as of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Malheur River at Vale had reached 20.13 feet.

The Malheur River in Vale, rising rapidly with snow melt and rain, was rising again Tuesday afternoon after dropping earlier in the day, approaching flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.

As of 12:30 p.m., the river was at 19.6 feet, measured at a gauge just east of the highway bridge on the east end of Vale. Flood stage is 19.5 feet.

“At 19.5 feet, the river will begin spilling over its banks flooding farmland between Vale and Ontario,” the National Weather Service said in a warning issued early Tuesday afternoon. “Water will begin approaching low spots on Butte Drive. Water will approach the 36th Street Bridge upstream from Ontario about 8 hours after flood stage is exceeded near Vale.”

The weather service said the river is expected to fall below flood stage late Tuesday afternoon and continue dropping to 12.4 feet on Friday at Vale.

Authorities on Monday night issued a warning for farmland flooding between Vale and Ontario, project the river would hit flood stage.

In recent years, the highest crest recorded for the Malheur was 16.45 feet on March 25, 2019. National Weather Service records show the historic crest was 24.58 feet in Feb. 24, 1957.

An aerial image shows where Northwest 36th Street crosses the Malheur River just west of Ontario. (Google Maps)

This story will be updated.

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