While Lewis County Emergency Management’s Ross McDowell said the week was unlikely to see any “major disaster,” residents should still be wary of effects from heavy rain and rising rivers as the National Weather Service issued a flood watch for the Chehalis and Cowlitz rivers.
Rivers in the greater Lewis County area will flirt with the stages of minor flooding in the coming days, as the Cowlitz River in Randle and Chehalis River at Grand Mound are set to hit “action” stages on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Action stage is the category before “minor” flooding, meaning as of the forecast from Monday morning, the waterways were not anticipated to cause damage or close roads.
The flood watch advisory warning from the weather service came on Monday as the region was set to see nearly constant rain until late Wednesday morning and higher temperatures than the previous week, which could contribute to rising river levels as snow melts in higher elevations.
For Packwood, the weather service forecasted up to 1 inch of rain for Monday night, Tuesday morning and Tuesday night alike. In the Twin Cities, which had warmed to a balmy 52 degrees by Monday afternoon, the weather service was predicting up to 3 quarters of an inch of precipitation for those three time periods.
During a flood watch, which is not as severe as a flood Warning, residents are advised to keep a close eye on river levels and weather shifts. In the Chehalis River Basin, the Chehalis Flood Authority can do some of that work for residents. At https://chehalis.onerain.com/, visitors can check on rain outlooks and sign up for high water email alerts.
A full chart of Lewis County’s major rivers and water levels is also available at https://rivers.lewiscountywa.gov/#/, which includes the Chehalis at Mellen Street in Centralia and at Doty, the Skookumchuck at Centralia, the Newaukum in Chehalis, the Cowlitz River in Randle and Packwood and the Nisqually River in the northeastern part of the county.