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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Rivers and creeks hit flood stage across Inland Northwest as abnormally cool, wet spring persists

UPDATED: Tue., June 14, 2022

Deadman’s Creek roars on Tuesday afternoon along State Route 206 near Mount Spokane. The overflow damaged part of the road before a WDOT crew patched it with gravel.  (James Hanlon/The Spokesman-Review)
Deadman’s Creek roars on Tuesday afternoon along State Route 206 near Mount Spokane. The overflow damaged part of the road before a WDOT crew patched it with gravel. (James Hanlon/The Spokesman-Review)
By James Hagengruber and James Hanlon The Spokesman-Review

Flooding continued to rise in some waterways in the region Tuesday, washing out a portion of roadway near Mount Spokane State Park and overflowing parts of the Palouse River.

Tuesday’s flooding was “extensive” in low-lying areas between the towns of Potlatch, Idaho, and Palouse, Washington.

The Palouse River near Potlatch is at its third-highest level on record, said Laurie Nisbet, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Spokane. The river’s highest historic crest was measured at 22.15 feet on Feb. 9, 1996.

The Palouse River reached as high as 18.84 feet Tuesday morning, before receding slightly in the afternoon. The flood level for that river is 15 feet, and its normal level is close to 7 feet, according to the weather service.

Water was flowing over Flannigan Creek Road where it crosses the Palouse River, the weather service said in a flood advisory.

Water was also flowing over Flannigan Creek Road where it crosses the Palouse River. South River Road was also flooded where it crosses the Palouse River at Wellesley Road, the weather service said.

Six inches of water surrounded a house on Main Street in Palouse, and Lions Club Park in Palouse was “submerged.” The Potlatch softball and baseball fields were also flooded.

The river is forecast to fall below the flood stage Wednesday.

Other rivers under flood warnings are Pend Oreille River below Albeni Falls, Moyie River at Eastport and St. Joe River at St. Maries.

The Washington Department of Transportation responded to flood damage on State Route 206 near Mount Spokane State Park Tuesday morning. The creek along the highway overflowed and washed out the side of the roadway near Mile 10 when a tree fell against another tree inside the creek, causing the water to spill onto and damage the edge of the road.

The road was down to one lane while a crew removed the tree and filled the damaged 100-foot section with dirt and gravel to prevent the creek from flowing onto the roadway. The road reopened at 1:30 p.m.

Ryan Overton, communications manager for WDOT’s east region, said the department will wait a week or two for the water level to recede, then reassess and repave the damaged section.

Mount Spokane State Park remained open Tuesday.

Lara Gricar, area manager for Washington State Parks, said she was unaware of any damage caused by flooding inside the park.

Overton said he was unaware of any other road damage caused by flooding in the region, but some roads have had large puddles of standing water. Meanwhile, rain turned to snow at the high elevation over Sherman Pass on State Route 20, where WDOT plowed 2-3 inches Tuesday.

The weather service has recorded 1.34 inches of rain at Spokane International Airport since Friday , Nisbet said. There have been 2.38 inches of rainfall this month, 1.78 inches above normal. The total this year is 9.54 inches, compared to the average 8.64 inches.

Temperatures have not hit 80 degrees this year, which is approaching a record. (Temperatures reached 79 degrees June 2.) The latest 80-degree day recorded was June 22, 2011.

The high temperature is forecast for 80 degrees Friday, with a 25% probability.

“Friday, there could be thunderstorms late in the day,” Nisbet said. “I think the issue is going to be the cloud cover, and if there’s going to be too much cloud cover to get to 80.”

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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