Flood fears continue to rise in the Inland Northwest as recent rains combined with melting snow send some of the region’s streams over their banks.
A raft of flood warnings and advisories was issued Wednesday after a second rainstorm in five days swept across northeastern Washington and North Idaho.
Slightly more than a third of an inch of rain fell in Spokane on Wednesday. That is after almost 1.6 inches of rain fell last weekend.
Now, forecasters are calling for the first big warm-up of the season. Highs are predicted to reach the upper 60s by Friday and climb to the sunny 70s over the weekend.
That is sure to unleash some of the higher elevation snowpack and keep area streams running high, said Irv Haynes, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Spokane.
“I’m sure this is going to affect the flooding,” he said.
A flood warning remained in effect Wednesday for the St. Joe River in North Idaho. The river was measured at 32.7 feet at St. Maries Wednesday. Flood stage is 32.5 feet.
Forecasters said the river will continue to rise slowly.
On the Coeur d’Alene River, a flood watch was issued for the Cataldo area where the river was measured at 41 feet, about two feet below flood stage.
The level was holding steady on Wednesday, but with the latest rain and forecast for warm temperatures, forecasters said the river will continue to creep higher over the next few days.
Flood advisories were issued for small streams in northeast Washington and North Idaho.
In Latah County of North Idaho, the Palouse River was running full. Tributaries of the Palouse and Potlatch rivers were reported over their banks.
Crell Creek in Latah County was flooding, Haynes said. One weather observer reported that 1.1 inches of rain was measured in the Crell Creek area on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
The latest round of flooding was triggered by the vigorous Pacific storm that struck the region Saturday and Sunday. “It was an amazing system for Spokane,” Haynes said.
Rainfall last Saturday at Spokane International Airport set a single-day record for the month of April, Haynes said.
A total of 0.96 inches of rain fell at the airport last Saturday, breaking the old record of 0.94 inches set on April 11, 1982.
Another 0.62 inches of rain fell early Sunday in Spokane before heavy winds gusting to 53 mph blew in behind the weather front.
Rainfall for the month of April in Spokane now stands at 1.93 inches, almost double the normal of 1.1 inches for the month.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
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