Sandbagging continues as streams leave their banks

Water overtops the Broadway Street bridge in Conconully and runs out toward Main Street.

Photo by Dee Camp
Water overtops the Broadway Street bridge in Conconully and runs out toward Main Street.

— Sandbagging is under way in several locations around Okanogan County as rivers and creeks continue to rise.

Rain and melting snow contributed to the waterways’ high levels, as has release of water from the Canadian system of lakes into Lake Osoyoos and the Okanogan River.

Okanogan County Emergency Management issued a flood alert Wednesday evening for the Chewuch River north of Winthrop.

“The river is on the rise,” said the warning, issued just before 10 p.m. “Flooding has been confirmed near Barron Boulevard and Northcott Road.”

In Conconully, residents spent Wednesday filling and deploying sandbags as Salmon Creek overflowed its banks in town. A few Okanogan High School students assisted.

The creek, which normally flows placidly through town, was a torrent of muddy water that overtopped the Broadway Street bridge. Water also sloshed against the Lake Street bridge and ran through yards and driveways in town.

In Riverside, the Okanogan River dike was holding fine along the west bank, but was leaking in places on the east bank, Okanogan County Emergency Management reported. The city’s public works crew patrolled the area.

Crews from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Riverside Flood Control District are evaluating the dike and working on a plan to repair it. There’s no danger to residents at this time, the emergency office said.

Sandbagging also was under way in Tonasket near the soccer fields, and work is under way in Okanogan to shore up the dike running behind business along North Second Avenue. Areas along the Okanogan River north of Ellisforde are flooded.

The Okanogan River is carrying trees and other debris, and several creeks are running fast and furious. Water is being spilled into Salmon Creek from Conconully Reservoir, with the normally dry creek bed through Okanogan filled to the brim.

The Okanogan River is expected to crest at 20.2 feet Saturday morning at Janis bridge.

Sandbags are available at various locations: Oroville, Tonasket, Omak, Okanogan and Conconully city halls, and from the Colville Confederated Tribes and Okanogan Valley Concrete on Elmway in Okanogan.

Several roads are closed because of flooding, including Salmon Creek Road between Danker Cutoff Road and Spring Coulee Road, and also between Ruby Grade and Conconully Highway; North Star Road from Davis Canyon Road to Three Devils Road; Loup Loup Canyon Road at milepost 2.29; Windy Hill Road at milepost 2.69; Green Lake Road from milepost 2.08 (boat launch) to milepost 3.72 (north end of Brown Lake), and Sinlahekin Road from milepost 12.16 to 12.77.

In Ferry County, Highway 21 is closed at milepost 185.1 near Little Goosmus Creek Road because of water over the road.

The highway also is closed between Curlew and Danville. Both lanes have washed out.


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