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EUGENE, Ore. — About 500 people remained evacuated Tuesday from their homes in Oregon after record-breaking rain that shut down roads and forced officials to close schools in the hardest-hit communities.
The evacuations followed moderate flooding Sunday night and Monday along the Coast Fork of the Willamette and Row rivers near Eugene, The Register-Guard reported .
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office urged Eugene-area residents to stay off roads and said it was working to help people in several homes completely surrounded by water.
Firefighters rescued a 75-year-old man whose pickup truck went off a flooded stretch of road outside Eugene near Junction City, KVAL-TV reported .
More than 4.3 inches of rain has fallen in Eugene since Thursday, with a record-breaking 2.34 inches on Sunday alone. That’s the most precipitation there in a single calendar day in more than seven years, and it breaks the mark for the wettest April day on record.
Andy Bryant, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Portland, told the newspaper that the service has no record of a flood event in the southern Willamette Valley this late in the rainy season.
“The time of the year, just in my mind, makes it historically significant that we’re having a flood like this a week into April,” Bryant said. “What we’ve had is more of a November through February kind of weather event.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing more water than usual from Willamette River reservoirs to prevent overflow.
Highway 58 southeast of Eugene near Oakridge remained closed after it was cut off by a rockslide Monday. Oregon Transportation officials said on Twitter they were hoping to reopen the road late Tuesday afternoon.