Two Lewis County rivers were above flood stage as of Friday morning, and are expected to rise with a predicted 1 to 2 more inches of rain today and a total of 3 to 4 more inches by Sunday in the area, according to the National Weather Service.
According to information posted by Lewis County at rivers.lewiscountywa.gov, as of about 10 a.m. Friday, the Chehalis River at Doty was about 3 feet above flood level, while the Newaukum in Chehalis was a foot above flood stage. Both were in “phase 2” flood stage.
Jackson Highway in Chehalis between Chehalis Valley and Rush Road is currently closed as of 10:30 a.m. on Friday according to Andy Caldwell, Deputy Director of Emergency Management for Lewis County.
Lewis County PUD 1 reported isolated power outages in the Doty and Pe Ell areas as well as in Randle, Mineral and Ashford late Thursday night. The outages had been restored by Friday morning.
The Newaukum River is expected to crest Friday at moderate flood level while the Chehalis River is expected to continue to rise into Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
While rivers are not currently expected to threaten houses and other structures, the predicted levels could cause flooded roads and fields.
The 4 flood phases are described as follows:
Phase 1: generally no road closures or residential flooding.
Phase 2: some road closures, but no major flooding.
Phase 3: some road closures and minor residential flooding.
Phase 4: major road closures and residential flooding.
The National Weather Service is continuing to watch to river levels, especially the Chehalis River, but also flooding on the roadways where the heaviest precipitation has fallen.
“Through today we are looking at at least another inch or two but it’s possible at least into tomorrow to get to some 3 inch marks at some spots,” said Jacob DeFlitch, with the National Weather Service. “What we are kind of watching is where the heaviest bands of rain set up and much of that has really been across the southwest interior and south sound overnight and into this morning so we are watching the rapid rise in those rivers as the rain does fall.”
Over the past 40 hours, Lewis County has accumulated 2 to 3 inches of rain and around the Centralia/Chehalis area and 4 inches in some areas. Across the higher elevations, closer to the Grays Harbor County border rainfall amounts have reached 5 to 7 inches said DeFlitch.
“The heaviest rain has really fallen over the last 12 to 24 hours,” he said.
DeFlitch advised people in the area to pay attention to forecasts and to not try to drive over through flooded areas.
Lewis County Emergency Management is also telling people not to walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Caldwell encouraged everyone to monitor the situation and be prepared to act.
“We are trying to make sure people are aware and know what to expect. We hope there is a minimal impact on the community. We hope that it also encourages people to consider their preparedness for future events,” said Caldwell.
More information on the river levels can be found at: rivers.lewiscountywa.gov/#/