River flooding affecting North Idaho residents

River flooding affecting North Idaho residents

As water levels continue to rise in North Idaho, neighbors worry they could soon be feeling the effects.

The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for several rivers in our area, including the Okanogan, Kettle, Moyie, St. Joe, and Coeur d’Alene rivers. The Okanogan River is experiencing major flooding, while the others are mostly experiencing minor flooding.

The Coeur d’Alene River in Cataldo is approaching flood stage. The National Weather Service says by Monday night, the river will likely breach that flood stage. At that point, some basements could start taking on water. There are the same concerns right now for the Okanogan River near Tonasket.

Neighbors in Cataldo say they have seen the water levels rising pretty quickly, even measuring more than a foot difference over the course of a few hours Monday.

Nearby creeks and streams have swelled from the growing river and their waters are running more rapid.

Several roads in Cataldo that usually flood are also likely going to be flooding soon.

Kenzie Woody has lived in Cataldo her entire life. She says every year, the road leading to her house floods, trapping them on their property.

“It gets about like two feet over the road and then we get trapped in our houses and we can’t leave for a few days and it gets really, really fast,” she said.

She says she doesn’t know how long the waters will keep them trapped at home, so they have to prepare when they see the water getting close.

“We just went to Winco yesterday and got a whole bunch of stuff so that we don’t have to have no food and stuff like that,” Woody said.

Flood warnings will remain in effect for several days, as the snowpack continues to melt and showers are in the forecast.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been sent to Okanogan County to implement emergency protective measures to reduce the risk of scour on the Elmway levee.

Anyone who is in need of sandbags is asked to contact their local government office.