Pend Oreille County Braces For Rising River

CUSICK, Wash. – People north of Newport are bracing for what some predict will be the worst flooding in more than a decade.

The Pend Oreille River is rising after recent rain and rapid snowmelt in are mountains where authorities say the snowpack can still be measured in feet.

"We might be the only people not wishing for warmer weather," said Robert Spencer, mayor of Cusick.

Authorities have placed sand and bags at the town boat launch and post office for residents needing supplies to protect their property.

Spencer spent part of Memorial Day watching weather forecasts that suggest the Pend Oreille River could spill onto the town's main road as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Pend Oreille River was several feet below River Road, but some people in Cusick felt it could rise as soon as this week.

The Army Corp of Engineers built a levee near the town in 1997 that saved much of the area from the last major flood. Authorities hope it will keep water out of the town again.

Some residents evacuated their homes in 1997. Some in Cusick have started storing water in case of flooding this year.

A note on the town hall says authorities will shut down the local sewer system if the river spills into town.

The rising river covers several docks, but the water remains below area homes.

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