Use Extreme Caution Near River Banks and In Flood Zones
By Loni Rahm
Hot weather is rapidly melting the large snow pack in the mountains, resulting in substantially high run-off in creeks and rivers throughout North Central Washington, including the Stehekin River, the Methow River near Pateros and all of Okanogan County.
National Weather Service Flood Warnings have been issued for the following locations:
- The Stehekin River until Sunday evening
- The Methow River near Pateros until Tuesday, May 22
- All of Okanogan County through mid-afternoon on Friday
- North Central Stevens and North Central Ferry Counties through Friday evening
- The Okanogan River near Tonasket until further notice
- The Kettle River near Ferry above Curlew until further notice
- Similkamen River near Nighthawk in Okanogan County until further notice
In addition a Flash Flood Watch has been issued for low lying land and roadways throughout Okanogan County.
Updated National Weather Service Watch Warnings can be found at their website.
Chelan County PUD Alerts and Closures
Chelan County PUD has issued an alert to indicate they are spilling from the Chelan Dam, which means there will be a faster flow and increased volumes of water in the Chelan River and through the Gorge. Hikers are urged to stay out of the gorge.
Suzanne Hartman, Communications Manager for Chelan County PUD, indicated that currently the Entiat and Wenatchee Rivers are running high but not at emergency levels. “It’s an unusually high year, but nothing we haven’t seen before and exactly what we prepare for,” she said.
Hartman urged extreme caution near all rivers and any flooding zones. Swift moving waters encroach and obscure traditional river banks, making it difficult to see where the bottom drops off, Hartman indicated. “Someone could slip and fall into deep, fast-flowing water,” she said.
“It’s dangerous,” Hartman stated. Her recommendation is to just “Stay Away”.
The PUD has closed a couple of their boat launches on the Columbia River and posted warning signs at several parks. Teneille Hatmaker with PUD Parks and Recreation confirmed that the Bebee Bridge Park boat launch was closed temporarily yesterday, but has since been reopened. “We are consistently monitoring the flows to determine the need for any additional closures,” she said.
Additional information can be found at the Chelan County PUD website.