Flooding, rock slide closes roads as temperatures hit 50s
Rain and snowmelt flooded streets and low-lying areas across the region Wednesday, and a rock slide briefly blocked most of U.S. Highway 195 near Rosalia.
Temperatures rose into the 50s for the first time in Spokane since Nov. 19 – a stretch of 3 1/2 months that brought a mix of winter weather that veered from foggy and dreary to cold and snowy.
Patchy sunshine and a mild southwest wind combined to send Wednesday afternoon temperatures to 53 degrees at Spokane International Airport and 50 in Coeur d’Alene. Felts Field reported 57 degrees.
The mild weather and rain heightened concern about flooding on small streams and creeks as well as in low-lying rural areas and some urban locations.
The National Weather Service upgraded its flood watch to a flood advisory through Friday morning for 11 counties in Northeast Washington and North Idaho.
Washington state transportation crews and State Patrol troopers were at Farwell Road and U.S. Highway 2 late Wednesday afternoon where flooding was starting to cover up lanes of traffic. Sandbags were brought to the area to hold back the water, an eyewitness reported.
Flooding also closed state Highway 231 near Reardan.
In Idaho, Prairie Avenue between Huetter and Atlas roads in Kootenai County was closed because of flooding Wednesday. Water was also reported on Idaho state Highway 41 south of Oldtown.
The State Patrol said the rock slide on U.S. 195 between Plaza and Rosalia closed the southbound lane and partly blocked the northbound lane. At least one vehicle struck the rocks, troopers said, but there were no injuries reported. Rocks were cleared a short time after the slide.
U.S. Highway 12 east of Lewiston in Idaho was closed due to avalanche danger Wednesday.
U.S. Highway 2 at Stevens Pass reopened Wednesday after an avalanche covered the highway near the summit in the morning.