Local News

Spokane River reaching historic levels

The roaring Spokane River is reaching historic levels. Most people are comparing the flooding to the flooding we saw in 1997, which is pretty spot on considering the river is just five inches lower now than it was then.

So why are we seeing such widespread flooding? It has to do with the rain that fell long before it even started snowing this winter.

Rick Christner lived in Peaceful Valley for 25 years, but he didn't expect his home on Water Street to turn into waterfront property.

On Tuesday, Rick, his wife, and his neighbors were hard at work trying to stop the Spokane River from flowing any further.

“We're blocking the end of the street up. This morning, the water was well past the driveways," Christner said.

At a press conference Tuesday, National Weather Service Officials said we're 130 to 200 percent above average precipitation for the winter. But this flooding problem actually started in the fall.

Hydrologist Katherine Rowden says that got our soil saturated before the snow even started falling. February and March were both big months for precipitation.

“There's really pretty much never been a situation like we're in now with saturated soils,” Rowden said.

The Spokane River crest right now is in the top five highest since 1894 and this is the highest in 20 years.

Rowden says this flooding, especially in low-lying areas like Peaceful Valley, could be more impactful.

“This is the worst I've seen it since I've been down here,” Christner said.

There's still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Spokane River, like exactly how high it will get.

As far as when the river will recede and the what the landscape will look like when it does, officials say they don't know yet.