Northeast Region-Department of Natural Resources
Colville, WA 99114
OKANOGAN FLOODING 2018
Final Incident Update – May 21, 2018 10 A.M.
Okanogan County – With levees built to withstand expected river flows and sandbags stockpiled throughout Okanogan County, the Northeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team (IMT) has completed its mission to solidify flood protection along the Okanogan River. Monitoring efforts will now be managed by the county’s Department of Emergency Management and cities along the river valley.
Thanks to the help of dedicated community volunteers, the IMT made of firefighters from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the Washington Fire Service, the Washington Conservation Corps and the Washington State Patrol was able to fill and lay more than 220,000 sandbags along the river’s banks, resulting in 6,623 feet of additional protection along levees from Oroville to Okanogan.
“We’re glad we were able to come in here quickly and help our neighbors and colleagues in Okanogan County,” said Ed Lewis, Jr., Incident Commander for the IMT. “The early flood forecasts looked pretty scary, but because these communities are so stout, we got tremendous help getting sandbags filled and ready for the worst.”
“We’re not completely out of this yet, but we’re in a lot better place than we were a week ago,” said Maurice Goodall, Okanogan County Emergency Management Director. “We’ve got a good protection built up, and enough support in our communities to be able to respond to any leaks that may come up going forward.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will remain in Okanogan County to ensure the stability of levees. Veterans relief organization Team Rubicon will also be in Okanogan County to help residents in need of assistance during the flood and after waters recede.
Although water levels are not as high as earlier forecasted, the ground is extremely saturated and may become unstable in areas.
All citizens should be prepared and take appropriate actions to protect lives and property as necessary. A flash flood watch issued by the National Weather Service Thursday remains in effect. Citizens should be aware of the potential for flash floods especially over recent burn scars, as well as the possibility of rapidly rising tributary systems feeding into the Okanogan River.
The National Weather Service is forecasting the river to remain in moderate to major flood stage into next weekend, meaning flows are expected to be between 17-to-20-feet.
Flooding began earlier this month when warm temperatures melted a record Canadian snowpack into the Okanogan, Similkameen and Methow rivers and their tributaries. Residents living near these rivers should continue to monitor high water levels and be prepared to move to higher ground if necessary.
The Okanogan River remains closed
Potable drinking water for those in need is available at the following locations:
Oroville City Shop, 915 Appleway
Tonasket City Shop, 500 Railroad Ave.
Riverside City Hall
For more information, contact the Okanogan Emergency Management Division at 509-422-7348.
Additional information and updates can be found on:
Road Closures - http://okanogandem.org/map.htm