Okanogan River slowly returning to pre-flood stage

OKANOGAN COUNTY – There was good news regarding the recent flooding of the Okanogan River on Monday, June 13: the water level is slowly receding.

“The overall situation is that the river crested on Friday,” Scott Miller, Okanogan County Department of Emergency Management manager, said. “The river is on the way down but it will probably take the rest of the month to get back to the flood stage at 15 feet.”

Last Monday, June 6, Okanogan County declared a state of emergency due to the floods while the City of Tonasket declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, June 7 as a precautionary measure. In response to this, the Army Corp Engineers arrived in Okanogan County to work on various flood issues, Miller said.

“They repaired and installed new levees last week,” he added. “We had a partial levee failure in Okanogan they fixed last Friday, then they installed rock to strengthen a levee in the Methow near Twisp. They will probably be here for at least another week to assist the cities and county with emergencies.”

Miller said the Okanogan River is just above 17 feet currently and seems to be receding at the rate of half a foot per week. He said he does not think Tonasket or Oroville have sustained any significant damage due to the floods and added that the weather, which is supposed to remain cool throughout this week with little rain, will help to lower the water level steadily.

“The threats right now are isolated to basements flooding and to possible levee failures,” Miller said. “The essential message is the river will slowly recede over the next month.”