UPDATE: Saturday, May 19 – Efforts focused on monitoring flood control measures

OKANOGAN COUNTY – Incident managers are beginning to demobilize crews brought in to protect communities along the flooding Okanogan River, as efforts to hold back the surging river continue to hold. Three of ten crews were released Saturday morning, leaving 150 personnel assigned to flood response.

Efforts are now focused on monitoring the effectiveness of flood control measures; responding to any leaks that arise, and ensuring the continued stability of levees.

Crews brought in from across the state worked with community volunteers to fill and lay more than 200,000 sandbags along the river throughout Okanogan County to protect infrastructure and homes. Stockpiles of sandbags have been built up in each community and pumps are in place to keep flood waters away from infrastructure and homes.

The National Weather Service reported the river level at Tonasket was 19.05 feet Saturday morning, down from the 19.48 feet peak last Saturday, May 11. River levels are expected to remain elevated through next week, with a potential surge from snowmelt during warmer weather towards the end of the week.

Although water levels are not as high as earlier forecasted, the ground is extremely saturated and may be unstable in areas. All citizens should remain prepared and take appropriate actions to protect lives and property as necessary.

Flooding began May 10 when warm temperatures melted a record Canadian snowpack into the Okanogan, Similkameen and Methow rivers and their tributaries.

Colville Tribes Emergency Services has issued evacuation advisories for homes within Brooks Tract just outside of Omak, four homes in Malott and four residences along Omak Riverside Eastside Road. People with questions about these evacuation advisories can contact Tribal EOC at 509-422-7419 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. There are no other evacuation orders at this time.

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

Efforts are being organized by the Okanogan County Department of Emergency Management and the Northeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team. Crews from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Conservation Corps are working closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers, local officials and countless community volunteers and contractors.

For more information, contact the Okanogan County Emergency Operations Center at 509-422-7348.

Additional information and updates can be found on:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Okanogan.County.Emergency.Management

Inciweb – https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5804/

Road Closures – http://okanogandem.org/map.htm