WDFW reopens wildlife area roads, campgrounds

Water from Sinlahekin Creek pools across Sinlahekin Road north of Blue Lake. The area flooded last year, too.

TONASKET — The Spokane office of the National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Okanogan River near town.

“Persistent warm temperatures will increase snow melt over the next week,” meteorologists said Friday morning. “River levels are expected to continue to rise. Minor flooding is likely throughout the weekend.”

Officials said the river is expected to continue to rise to moderate flood stage early this week between Tuesday and Thursday.

As of Friday morning, the river was at 14.44 feet. Flood stage is 15 feet. Officials said the river will continue to rise toward 17 feet by Tuesday.

Comparatively, the Okanogan River crested at 22.54 feet at Janis Bridge in 1972, and 21.79 feet in 1948.

• At 15 feet — Minor flooding of low-lying areas is likely between Oroville and Tonasket.

• At 16 feet — Pasture land between Rodeo Trail and Benton Street, on the east side of the river near Omak, will begin to flood.

• At 17 feet — Low-lying fields and pasture land in the flood plain along the Okanogan River valley, from Oroville to Okanogan, will be flooded. Some homes near the river in Okanogan may experience some basement flooding from seepage. Water will be between the railroad and Highway 97 near Cordell, south of Oroville. Water will be against the shoulder of Omak River Road across from Wanacut Creek.

• At 17.5 feet — Water will be behind the levee due to seepage, with flooding the motocross track downstream of the City of Okanogan.

• At 18 feet — Major flooding of surrounding cropland is likely. Some homes and buildings adjacent to the river will experience some basement and first floor flooding.

“The spring snow melt runoff in lakes and rivers is dangerously cold and can be life threatening for those that come into contact with the water. Take appropriate precautions,” officials said. “Be aware of large debris in the river. High water levels can push logs and other large debris into the river, increasing the danger to people and boats.”

It’s a similar situation with the Kettle River in Ferry County.

A flood watch was issued last week for the river near Curlew, where waters were expected to reach 18 feet.

Flood stage for the Kettle River is 18.50 feet.

• At 18.3 feet — Minor flooding will occur in the Ol’ Swimming Hole County Park in Curlew

• At 18.5 feet — Flooding begins on Customs Road near milepost 6.

• At 19 feet — Flooding at Beal Park on West Kettle River Road, west of Curlew. Ol’ Swimming Hole Park in Curlew will be inundated. Flooding of yards and outbuildings along the river from the international border through Curlew on both sides of the river. Some driveways on Kettle River Road will be flooded. Water will be over Customs Road near Riverview Lane.

Several county roads are closed because of water on the road.

According to Okanogan County Emergency Management, North Star Road is closed from Davis Canyon Road, milepost 11.2, to Three Devils Road, milepost 14.4, because of water and mud over the roadway.

Sinlahekin Road closed between milepost 12.16 and 12.77 because of water over the roadway causing deep mud.

While not on the emergency management closure list, Sinlahekin Road also is closed near Fish Lake because of water on the road from Gibson Creek.

The emergency management department said Windy Hill Road closed because of water and mud on the road at milepost 2.69 and Loup Loup Canyon Road closed at milepost 2.29 because of water over the roadway.

Meanwhile, in Ferry County, warmer temperatures and snow melt raised water levels in streams and rivers, causing several washouts. Highway 21 north of Curlew was washed out earlier this week when LaFleur Creek tore out a culvert and the road.

That section of road runs between Curlew and Danville.

Portions of the Ferry County Rail Trail are closed temporarily because of water hazards. Closures are at the Kiwanis Trailhead to Tucker Road, Empire Creek to Lundimo and Curlew to Lone Ranch Road, said county officials.

The charity fun run planned for 2:30 p.m. today, May 6, is not affected by the closure.

“Never drive cars, trucks or sport utility vehicles through flooded areas,” meteorologists said. “The water may be too deep to allow for safe passage. As little as one foot of water on the road can move most vehicles off the road.”

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