The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took steps on Wednesday to guard against flooding on several Inland Northwest rivers over the next several days.
Rain combined with snowmelt is threatening to push a number of rivers in the region over their banks. Some have already reached flood stage.
A flood watch was issued Wednesday for Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Spokane and Moyie rivers, and a flood warning continued for the St. Joe and Coeur d’Alene rivers, which empty into the lake.
In addition, a flood advisory was issued for small streams across the region. Heavy runoff may create pools of water in low-lying areas and trigger landslides, the National Weather Service said.
Colder air behind today’s Pacific storm should slow snowmelt by Friday while rainfall eases.
The Spokane River in Spokane could crest on Sunday about 9 inches above minor flood stage.
Lake Coeur d’Alene was expected to go to minor flood stage at an elevation of 2,134.5 feet by Sunday.
The Coeur d’Alene River at Cataldo was already at flood stage and was expected to rise another foot by Friday before receding.
The Corps said it has provided an extra pump for flood control at Cataldo.
A corps team was expected to hold sandbag training at Harbor Island on the Spokane River on Wednesday evening.
On the St. Joe, forecasts indicated the river will reach major flood stage at St. Maries at 38 feet on Friday.
Outflow from Libby Dam on the Kootenai River was reduced to help ease the flow at Bonners Ferry, where the river should stay a foot below flood stage, the corps said.
Albeni Falls Dam on the Pend Oreille River was taken offline, and its flood gates were raised to allow free flow of the river and keep Lake Pend Oreille levels down.
The corps’ district office in Seattle was planning to stay on alert to monitor waterways around the clock during the current high-water period, the corps said.