SEATTLE – In response to potential flooding in eastern Washington, officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, are sending flood teams to the Yakima and Okanogan Basins. One three-person flood team arrived in Yakima County Thursday and is supplying 1,000 tons of rock and overseeing its use, inspecting problem areas and levees, and providing technical assistance. Snow melt and rain are forecast to impact river basins over the next week there. The Northwest River Forecast Center has issues flood warnings for the Naches, Okanogan, Colville, Kettle and Stehekin Rivers.
The Seattle District members already in Yakima County are providing rock and technical oversight for the damaged Rambler’s Park Levee. The levee was previously repaired in 2006 but was damaged again in 2012 flooding. Repairs for existing damage are scheduled for later this summer, and potential damage during this event could adversely impact scheduled repairs. If the levee were to breach, public infrastructure including sewer, communication and power lines could all be affected.
Two more flood team members arrive later today in the Okanogan Basin, which is currently at flood stage and is scheduled to last through May 17. Another team of three is scheduled to arrive Saturday. Areas of concern are along the Okanogan (Riverside and City of Okanogan levees) and Methow (Twisp levee).
The Kettle and Stehekin rivers are forecast to reach or exceed moderate flood stage, and a flood warning has been issued by the National Weather Service. Additional flood teams are on alert should communities in those basins request technical or direct assistance.
Public Law 84-99 enables the Corps to assist state and local authorities in flood fight activities and cost share in the repair of flood protection structures.
As always, the National Weather Service is the principal agency providing forecasts. Their most recent weather story for eastern Washington is on-line at: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/FXC/wxstory.php?wfo=otx.
Release no. 13-022