SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Mayor David Condon has issued a state of emergency, closing the Spokane River within the city limits.
Mayor Condon issued the declaration Tuesday afternoon, citing "extensive flooding due to continuous rains, compounded by high temperatures and snow melting." The city says the flooding is hampering the use of public roads and causing damage to property.
The National Weather Service expects the river to crest tonight at 43,000 cubic feet per second and stay at this level for the next week.
Under the emergency declaration, the city is closing the suspension bridges over the river in Riverfront Park, where people have gathered for days to feel the spray of the falls. The city has also closed portions of the Centennial Trail under Division Street and the Washington Street couplet.
"Rising river levels are posing a real threat to public safety so we are imploring people to stay out of the river and to view it only from safe vantage points," said Mayor Condon. "We are also coordinating with emergency management to mobilize additional resources to monitor and address localized flooding."
The city is also keeping an eye on low-lying sewer pump stations; bridge teams have also inspected city bridges for potential impacts caused by rising water levels.
The Spokane Fire Department is also concerned about the impact of the fast-moving water. Monday, they had to put boats in the water to look for a person who jumped from one of the suspension bridges. Crews worry about putting crews at risk and don't plan to go back in the water unless it's absolutely necessary.
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