Although flood warnings were still in effect in the region, rivers were receding Monday and flooding is expected to subside in the coming days, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.
However, storms are still on the way, with potentially significant rainfall on Wednesday, and Lewis County Emergency Management is still warning residents to be wary of mud and landslides.
“Even if the rains do subside, we still have the threat of landslides,” Lewis County Emergency Management Deputy Director Andy Caldwell said Monday. “That’s something that, when the ground gets this saturated, we want to make sure we’re aware of.”
Approximately 3 inches of rain fell in the last 48 hours, NWS meteorologist Jacob DeFlitch said Monday morning. The rain on the forecast is “not a drier pattern at all,” but will likely be more spotty, with breaks between systems to allow for water levels to recede.
Over the weekend, the Skookumchuck River near Bucoda hit the moderate flood stage, and is currently receding into the preliminary “action” stage. The Chehalis River near Grand Mound is still in the moderate phase, but near Doty, Chehalis and Porter, are in lower-risk categories. The Satsop and Newaukum Rivers also both hit or approached the moderate flood stage this weekend, and have since receded.
No major roadways were impacted over the weekend, though urban flooding closed many roads. China Creek also spilled out of its banks in Centralia, inundating some homes and businesses.
“It just so happened we did have a number of systems move through in the last few days that were pretty damp,” DeFlitch said. “That combined with more rain up in the mountains led to the rise of the rivers, and we didn’t really see too much of a break between systems.”
Higher snow lines also meant more rain flowing into river systems. According to DeFlitch, it will take a few days for levels to recede. Flooding season may be exacerbated this year by an ongoing La Niña event.
Sand and empty bags are available throughout the county for residents concerned with local flooding. Stations are across from Centralia’s City Hall, in front of the county’s Law and Justice Center in Chehalis and in most public work yards in the county, according to Caldwell. If assistance is needed after hours, residents can call 360-740-1105.
Caldwell urged all residents to sign up for Lewis County Alert as well, a system that will call, text or email participants with emergency notices. Messages are also available in Spanish, although the county is still struggling to connect Spanish-speaking residents with the emergency service.
“It’s a great time to think about preparedness,” he said. “Think about how your 72-hour kits are prepared. Are you ready if power goes out? Have you checked your batteries? Is your car serviced?”