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Portland area slammed by more rain after floods start

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland area was in line for a second soaking Tuesday after heavy rains turned streets into creeks, wreaked havoc on mass transit and forced the evacuation of at least one neighborhood.

Monday's flooding caused the closure of numerous roads, and heavy rains triggered landslides.

The 24-hour accumulation at Portland International Airport set a record for December. More than 3.3 inches of rain fell in the 24-hour span that ended Monday at 2 p.m. Parts of the Coast Range got even more.

Light rain fell early Tuesday and forecasters expect the region to get soaked later in the day and again Wednesday night.

CBS affiliate KOIN in Portland reports locals can expect up to two additional inches of rain by Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for much of northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. It's in effect through Thursday afternoon, but rain likely won't stop until the week's end.

The rains are caused by several low-pressure systems moving through the region, one after the other, forecasters said.

The downpours had officials evacuating a neighborhood in Clackamas County, and the American Red Cross opened a shelter there. Several school districts sent students home early Monday and the Oregon Zoo also closed.

A big sinkhole developed in a street in Gresham, a Portland suburb, where crews were also pumping water from an elementary school in Gresham.

The parking lot at Multnomah Falls, a popular tourist stop in the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland, was closed after a creek overflowed its banks.

In Lake Oswego, just south of Portland, several cars were stranded in high water.

The rain also caused Portland's sewer system to overflow into the Willamette River. Officials said people should avoid contact with the river for at least 48 hours because of bacteria in the water.

Officials say residents should avoid traveling and should watch for flash floods, mudslides, falling trees and power outages. They are also advised to keep children and pets away from floodwaters and avoid walking and driving through high water. Residents whose property is at risk for flooding should use sandbags.