Washington County Hazards

Know the hazards that may occur where you live

There are many hazards that can affect you in Washington County. This flyer covers earthquakes, floods, windstorms, and winter storms because they are the most likely to occur or can cause widespread damage. Your goal is to learn about the possible impacts each hazard can cause so you can focus your preparedness activities on them.

Be prepared for the impacts

The key to preparedness is knowing what hazards may occur in your area and how they can disrupt your life. By being prepared for the impacts of floods, earthquakes, winter storms and windstorms, you will be prepared for impacts other hazards may cause. Learn about other hazards by reading the Take 5 flyer, Severe Weather in Winter and Summer.


Flooding generally happens along creeks and streams in Washington County, but may also occur in low-lying areas. Two weather events generate flooding in the county: a heavy rain event over a short period of time, especially when the ground is already very wet or frozen, and heavy rains over an extended period of time. Flood impacts include:


Several active faults that can cause earthquakes are known in and around Washington County. The Cascadia Subduction Zone is located off the Oregon and Washington coasts and can significantly impact our area. Unlike winter storms and flooding, earthquakes occur without warning. To learn more about earthquakes in Washington County, read the Take 5 flyer Earthquake Preparedness. Earthquake impacts include:

  • damage to homes and other public and private buildings
  • many injuries and deaths
  • damage to roads and bridges making it difficult or impossible to get to work, school, daycare, etc. and for stores to be resupplied
  • damage to utilities causing electrical outages, no running water, and no sewer service (won’t be able to flush the toilet). Learn more about disaster sanitation by visiting EmergencyToilet.org

Winter storms

A winter storm is generally an event lasting several days involving snow, ice, freezing rain, and/or freezing temperatures. Winter storm impacts include:

  • several inches of snow or damaging ice
  • loss of life and damage to property
  • electric, phone, and internet outages that last for many days
  • roads that can be too icy or snow-covered to drive on safely
  • schools being closed for several days


A windstorm is a generally a short duration event involving damaging winds in excess of 50 miles per hour. Though windstorms rarely produce tornadoes, they do occur and may cause injury and significant property damage. Windstorm impacts include:

  • blocked roads due to downed trees or debris
  • power outages
  • business or school closures that can last for several days
  • large amounts of debris to remove

Report Damage

Electrical outages, downed or sagging power lines.

General Electric
503-464-7777 or

Forest Grove Light and Power:
503-992-3250 or
503-412-2444 (after hours)

West Oregon Electric Cooperative:
503-429-3021 or

Gas Leaks

NW Natural:
If you smell rotten
eggs or sulfur,
immediately leave
the area and call: