April 27, 2012 in City, Idaho

Spokane River reaches flood stage in Spokane

Mike Prager photo

The Spokane River rises near homes along West Water Avenue in Peaceful Valley. Yards here are vulnerable when the river reaches flood stage.
(Full-size photo)

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The Spokane River reached flood stage early today, with minor flooding visible at spots along the river in Spokane.

It is among several rivers in Washington and Idaho where flood warnings are in effect. They are the Coeur d’Alene, St. Joe, Moyie and Kettle rivers. In addition, Lake Coeur d’Alene is expected to reach flood stage.

As water drains from the mountains into Lake Coeur d’Alene, the peak of the flow will work its way through the system, cresting in Spokane at another five inches above its current level on Sunday and Monday.

The Spokane River was flowing at 27.15 feet at 9 a.m., heading to a forecasted 27.56 feet on Sunday. Flood stage is 27 feet.

With high water since March, the Spokane Falls has been an ongoing attraction downtown, but the current flows are even more thunderous than earlier this spring.

The crest will occur slowly so that flows will be at their peak roughly on Saturday through Monday with the river receding to its flood stage by Friday.

Peak flow should be about 35,000 cubic feet per second, or about 11,000 cfs higher than at the start of this week.

If the river reaches 28 feet, sections of Peaceful Valley likely would flood, the National Weather Service said.

Minor flooding along Upriver Drive and the Centennial Trail there and in the Riverpoint industrial area is possible.

Rainfall across the region along with melting mountain snows have caused rivers to swell.

Lake Coeur d’Alene this morning was at an elevation of 2,132.6 feet, heading to a forecasted crest of 2,133.76 feet.

Flood stage on the lake is 2,133 feet, which should be reached overnight, the weather service said today.

The St. Joe at St. Maries has moved into the moderate flood stage at 36.06 feet with a crest of 36.44 feet expected overnight.

The Coeur d’Alene River at Cataldo crested earlier this week from rapid snow melt. It had started to fall, but then leveled off during Thursday’s rainstorm. It has been in minor flood stage for several days. It should drop back below flood stage by Sunday.

Today’s forecast for Spokane calls for isolated showers after 11 a.m., but mostly sunny with a high near 56. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low around 36.

Saturday and Sunday, forecasters say, will be mostly sunny with high near 60 with seasonably cool temperatures overnight in the upper 30s to middle 40s.

Rainy weather is more likely next week.

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