Record Rain In March Lead To Swollen Rivers In April - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Record Rain In March Lead To Swollen Rivers In April

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Fire Department and City of Spokane warned citizens to stay out of the Spokane River Monday after waters began running high and fast. The Spokane River is nearing 26 feet, which is just a foot below flood stage.

Also on Monday, The City Parks & Recreation Department closed portions of the Centennial Trail along Upriver Drive, east of Mission Avenue, which were submerged in water. If any parts of the trail are under water, City crews said to consider those portions closed.

Robert Boyd, who lives in a complex across the Spokane River on Mission Ave. said, "This year, it's coming up. We don't know where it's going to stop yet so we hope it stops before it gets to our place."

The rivers are running higher because of last month's record rainfall across Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle, according to Steven Van Horn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. In fact, Van Horn said some areas saw between two to five inches of precipitation in just one week.

"This is definitely an anomaly," Van Horn said. "The records for Spokane go back to 1881 and so we just broke that for that entire history. March was the wettest over that entire history and then when you have multiple sites like this breaking records, it's definitely unusual."

City Fire officials also asked citizens to use extreme caution around the river:

-- Don't allow children to play in the river. Moving water six inches deep can knock an adult off their feet, and the swift current can move a person downstream quickly. Cold water temperatures also can cause hypothermia.

-- Don't attempt to drive over flooded roads. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups.

-- Observe road closure signs and stay out of barricaded areas. Remember all portions of the Centennial Trail along Upriver Drive that are under water are closed.

-- Be aware of the large debris in the river. Higher water levels can push logs and other large debris into the river, increasing the danger to people.

-- Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have an emergency along the river! With these conditions, problems can develop rapidly. Don't wait to make that emergency call.

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