Lewis County reactivated its Emergency Operations Center Tuesday morning due to increased river levels. The sandbag station at the Law and Justice Center in Chehalis is now open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and sand has been refilled in Centralia at the corner of West Maple and North Pearl streets.
As of Tuesday morning, the Newaukum River near Chehalis is in the “action” stage, as is the Chehalis River near Doty and the Satsop River near Satsop.
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for Lewis County and surrounding areas earlier in the week, which extends until Wednesday night. Heavy rain is expected until Wednesday, causing some “sharp rises” in river levels, according to a NWS meteorologist.
The Cowlitz, Chehalis, Skookumchuck and Newaukum rivers are expected to be impacted. The Cowlitz River near Randle could experience moderate to major flooding, and the Chehalis River near Centralia and Doty could experience minor flooding. The Newaukum may experience minor flooding near Chehalis as well.
Water levels are expected to crest Wednesday afternoon after the region receives a forecasted 2 to 3 inches of rain. According to Lewis County Emergency Management Coordinator Fionna Velazquez, that could be exacerbated by how much snow melt is seen in the mountains.