Find the storm drains and fire hydrants near your house here: bit.ly/bbdrainmap

Sunshine and balmy temperatures are melting away the record snow that still blankets Central Oregon.

The snowmelt is expected to be gradual and not cause major flooding, but the National Weather Service in Pendleton is still warning people about large puddles forming around clogged storm drains, water over roads and flooding in basements.

Marilyn Lohmann, a hydrologist in Pendleton, said normally this time of year there is only snow in the mountains, so having snow in the cities can lead to concerns when the snow melts.

Fortunately for the region, Lohmann said, the forecast over the next week is favorable for gradual snowmelt. The forecast for Central Oregon shows highs around 50 degrees, but the lows are still below freezing at about 30 degrees.

“It looks to be a fairly long process,” Lohmann said. “We are not expecting any weather system to add any rain on top of the snow. It will be dry through the next seven days. This is a good cycle to go through to get the melting starting.”

Wendy Edde, Bend’s stormwater program manager, said city crews have been working to clear the snow away from storm drains in historically problem areas for urban flooding or in neighborhoods where residents are struggling to reach the drains.

“Given that we have over 10,000 storm drains through the city, we ask as much as possible for good neighbors to assist in finding those drains and helping out their neighbors who can’t,” Edde said.

A map on the city’s website at bit.ly/bbdrainmap allows residents to search for hydrants and drains near their addresses.

City crews use shovels and hammers to break up hard snow and ice that cover the drains, Edde said. Problem areas include parts of downtown Bend, Colorado Avenue near the Bend Parkway and the Franklin Avenue underpass, Edde said.

If water starts to puddle around a drain, the city can use vacuum trucks that suck the water off the ground. Such puddling has not been a problem yet, Edde said.

“I feel we are fortunate right now,” Edde said. “We are having a nice slow melt-off.”

Edde is reminding residents to keep the snow away from the foundation of their homes, because as the snow melts, it can flood into basements.

Central Oregon Heating, Cooling & Plumbing shared tips with homeowners Thursday to protect their property from snowmelt.

The company suggested residents clear the snow and debris from their roof gutters so water can drain away, check outside pipes for leaks and damage and make sure water drains away from heating and cooling equipment. Furnaces and boilers have valves and controls that are vulnerable to water damage, the company said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com

22751377