County Commissioners Issue Emergency Order for Spokane River - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

County Commissioners Issue Emergency Order for Spokane River

SPOKANE, Wash. - Tuesday afternoon, the Spokane County Board of Commissioners issued an emergency order directing the public to stay out of the Spokane River as it flows through the unincorporated area of Spokane County. 

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The emergency order will remain in effect until further notice due to low water temperatures and the velocity of the river.  The board's action is in response to a flood warning that was issued by the National Weather Service and reports of flooding along the Centennial Trail.  Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich requested the emergency order in the interest of public and responder safety, especially during the Memorial Day weekend.

Flood Hotlines

Shoshone County:
(208) 556-1983

Kootenai County:
(208) 446-2292

Benewah County:
(208) 245-4122

Unseasonably warm temperatures and rain have swollen the Spokane River to above flood stage in some areas and is expected to crest on Saturday.  Earlier today, county officials received reports of flooding along the Centennial Trail at milepost 2.5 (near Gateway Park at Stateline, ID) and milepost 13 (west of the Denny Ashlock Bridge near the Maringo Trail).

This afternoon's emergency order prohibits the public from intentionally entering the river, with or without a boat, raft, craft or other flotation device until further notice.  The Sheriff's Office has also been given the authority to take appropriate action to enforce the emergency order in the unincorporated areas of Spokane County.


City Prepares for Expected Minor Flooding; Urges Continued Extreme Caution Around River

SPOKANE, Wash. - With the Spokane River at flood stage and water levels expected to continue to rise for the next few days, the City of Spokane's Public Works Division and Fire Department are preparing for additional expected minor flooding and are continuing to urge citizens to use extreme caution around the Spokane River. 

While some flooding may occur in other areas, the City is anticipating that the Spokane River will spill onto:

  • Upriver Drive east of Mission Street.
  • Water Street at its dead end in Peaceful Valley.
Street Department crews will close these sections of street if the water extends over the pavement.  Motorists would be required to use alternate routes.  Barricades are already in place on the Centennial Trail along Upriver Drive between Mission and Greene streets, and some public benches in this area are under water.

Flood Preparation Information

- CDC Emergency Preparedness
- Government Flood Safety Resources

Right now, the City is expecting only minor flooding along the Spokane River.  Street crews have sandbags and sand ready for use on public property if forecasts change for the worse.  Property owners who live or have businesses along the river should assess their own risk of flooding and take appropriate steps to mitigate any potential damage.

Meanwhile, City Fire officials repeat their safety concerns about the river.  The entire river is running high and fast, and water temperatures remain very cold.  The National Weather Service now says the Spokane River will crest sometime on Friday afternoon or early Saturday, however it is anticipated that the river will remain above flood stage until late this month.

The City is reminding residents to use extreme caution around the river:

o       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.

o       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.

o       Observe road closure signs and stay out of barricaded areas.  Remember that portions of the Centennial Trail along Upriver Drive are barricade off.  Please obey that signage.

o       Be aware of the large debris in the river.  Higher water levels are pushing logs and other large debris into the river, increasing the danger to people.

o       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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