OKANOGAN COUNTY – Flood mitigation efforts along the Okanogan River are moving into defense mode as crews finish shoring up protection efforts. Crews working with community volunteers have filled and laid approximately 200,000 sandbags along the river throughout Okanogan County to protect critical infrastructure and homes. Work will now focus on strengthening those barriers and responding to leaks as they arise.
Although water levels are not as high as earlier forecasted, the ground is extremely saturated and may become unstable in areas. All citizens should be prepared and take appropriate actions to protect lives and property as necessary. A flash flood watch issued by the National Weather Service Thursday remains in effect. Citizens should be aware of the potential for flash floods especially over recent burn scars, as well as the possibility of rapidly rising tributary systems feeding into the Okanogan River.
The National Weather Service reported the river level at Tonasket was 19.29 feet this morning and forecasted it will remain under 20 feet into next week. Northeast Washington Interagency Management Team is beginning to release equipment and personnel that are no longer needed for the operation. This effort is being closely coordinated with the Okanogan County Emergency Management. Personnel will remain in affected communities at least through the weekend.
Flooding began last week when warm temperatures melted a record Canadian snowpack into the Okanogan, Similkameen and Methow rivers and their tributaries. Residents living near these rivers should continue to monitor high water levels and be prepared to move to higher ground if necessary.
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. The Red Cross has a shelter on standby in Tonasket, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 103 N. Whitcomb. The shelter is prepared to open quickly if necessary.
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 to assess and strengthen flood protections.
For more information, contact the Okanogan County Emergency Operations Center at 509-422-7348.
Additional information and updates can be found on:
Inciweb – https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5804/
Road Closures – http://okanogandem.org/map.htm