March 11, 2014 in City

Rain, melt push Inland Northwest rivers higher

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Several Inland Northwest rivers were at or near flood stage Monday in a surge of water that will have Spokane Falls raging all week.

The Spokane River was flowing at 16,100 cubic feet per second Monday. The forecast is calling it to crest at 27,000 cfs on Thursday.

Lake Coeur d’Alene is expected to crest Wednesday night and Thursday at 2 feet below flood stage.

Rain and melting snow have combined to increase stream flows in recent days.

The Coeur d’Alene River at Cataldo crested Monday evening at 2 feet above flood stage.

The National Weather Service said some homes and low-lying areas would be affected by the floodwaters.

The St. Joe River at St. Maries was moving toward flood stage today. It was expected to crest today at 2.5 feet above flood stage.

Flood warnings were posted Monday by the weather service for the St. Joe and Coeur d’Alene rivers.

The Palouse River at Potlatch was cresting Monday evening right at flood stage.

The Grande Ronde River at Troy, Ore., was also cresting Monday at nearly 2 feet above flood stage. That level was at the threshold of what is considered a major flood. The floodwaters were receding Monday night.

The National Weather Service said that 1 to 2 inches of rain fell in the mountains over the weekend above the flooding rivers. Temperatures were above freezing and gusty winds accelerated melting.

A flood in the Spokane River system in April 2012 raised the flow to nearly 35,000 cfs at Spokane.

Forecasters said rainy weather should subside later Monday with a break in the recent storm pattern arriving today through Thursday. Highs are expected to go from the upper 40s to middle 50s with mostly sunny weather expected starting today.

Elsewhere, the Yakima, Umatilla, John Day, Snoqualmie, Klickitat and Green rivers were expected to approach or exceed flood levels.

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