Local News

Residents in Okanogan race floodwaters to protect homes

OKANOGAN, Wash. - The sight of sandbags was all to common along Second Ave in Okanogan. Homeowners, volunteers and the Army Corps of Engineers had been working around the clock to shore up a dike and protect homes as a river that residents say they normally look down on began flooding into yards and basements.

“We have five feet of water in our basement right now,” said resident Kaila Harmier. 

She says they have four pumps running trying to just maintain water levels and protect the home above. As a precaution against electrical problems and a collapsing home, she’s been sleeping in a camper on her driveway. 

Down the road from her house volunteers were focusing their energy on laying sandbags. The dike there had been leaking and need shoring up. According to family members of one of the homeowners that evacuated that area, the river was within six inches of going over the top of the dike.

“It’s been scary, my mother cried because she didn’t want to have to leave her house of twenty years,” said Krystal Utigard. 

Officials with the Okanogan County Office of Emergency Management say they expect water levels to hold, then possible recede slightly before rising another two feet by next week. They says it’s all dependent on how warm the weather gets and could change.