January 19, 2011 in City

Rivers running high, fast

Snowmelt, rain put many area waterways at or near flood stage
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Kathy Plonka photoBuy this photo

“It was worse two years ago,” said Rikki Baysinger, 13, as she and her brother, Donavin, 12, check the flood damage near their home in Cataldo, Idaho, on Tuesday.
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Map of this story's location

Floodwaters began receding Tuesday after several rivers in North Idaho went over their banks Sunday and Monday.

In Spokane, the flush of rainwater and snowmelt was beginning to show its strength at the thunderous Spokane Falls.

The Spokane River was flowing at 17,100 cubic feet per second Tuesday afternoon and was on the rise. Avista Utilities predicted the river would crest on Thursday at about 26,000 cubic feet per second, or a foot below flood stage.

The Palouse River at Potlatch, Idaho, had fallen to 13.8 feet Tuesday after cresting at 16.5 feet Sunday night. Flood stage is 15 feet.

The St. Joe River at Calder, Idaho, was at 12.1 feet Tuesday morning and falling. Flood stage there is 13 feet. On Monday it peaked at just over 21,000 cubic feet per second.

The Coeur d’Alene River at Enaville, Idaho, was at 71.3 feet and cresting, just shy of a flood stage of 72 feet.

Kootenai County emergency officials said flooding was occurring in the Cataldo area, forcing closure of CCC Road and Latour Creek Road on Monday.

In Shoshone County, the old river road along the Coeur d’Alene River north of Kingston was closed by floodwater and residents living there were advised to evacuate Monday.

The Sheriff’s Office said some of the longtime residents chose to remain in their homes.

On the St. Joe, a U.S. Forest Service building was flooded, along with a residence at Avery. Floodwaters were also threatening low-lying areas at St. Maries.

The level of Lake Coeur d’Alene was rising at a rate of a foot a day and had gone from just over 23 feet on Thursday to nearly 29 feet by Tuesday based on the gauge at Coeur d’Alene.

The Spokane Falls were putting on a show for visitors to Riverfront Park.

“We heard the water was really coming through here. This is beautiful,” said Jim Christopherson, of Hope, Idaho.

He and his wife, Debbie, were walking their dogs through the park after enjoying lunch at a restaurant overlooking the falls.

Forecasters said cooler weather would slow the rush of water this week.

Daytime temperatures should be in the middle 30s to lower 40s this week in Spokane, with nighttime temperatures in the middle to upper 20s.

A storm system is forecast to arrive Thursday night and could bring rain or snow.

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