Warm weather raises river levels

WENATCHEE – High temperatures are causing mountain snowpacks to melt rapidly, creating the possibility of flooding in parts of Eastern Washington.

Chelan County Sheriff Mike Harum said numerous rivers in central Washington are approaching flood stage. Rivers are expected to continue to rise significantly over the weekend.

The Stehekin River was at 25.87 feet on Thursday; flood stage is 24 feet. The Entiat River was at 6.64 feet; flood stage is 7.5 feet. The Wenatchee River was at 11.4 feet; flood stage is 13 feet.

The sheriff’s office said residents along the Upper Entiat River, the Upper Stehekin Valley and residents of Leavenworth on E. Leavenworth Road were being contacted and encouraged to evacuate. It was not known how many had left their homes.

The National Weather Service also issued a flood warning for the Methow River in Okanogan County. The river was running at 10.1 feet Friday morning, just above the flood stage of 10 feet, and was expected to crest at 11 feet.

“Minor flooding of adjacent roads and low-lying areas is likely throughout the Methow Valley from Mazama to Pateros,” the weather service said.

The Naches River near Yakima was also at flood stage.

Temperatures began to drop on Friday, and the weather service predicted water levels would likewise begin to drop. Thunderstorms and high winds were predicted for portions of Eastern Washington this weekend, with temperatures in the 70s.

“Our little sneak peek of summer is coming to an end,” said hydrologist Charles Ross of the weather service in Spokane.

On Thursday, Spokane broke a 52-year-old record with a high temperature of 90.

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