Jessica Fisher, Public Information Assistant, No Phone Number Available
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 5:22 p.m.
Hundreds of people have flocked to downtown Spokane to admire and take photos of the Spokane River.
Since October 2016 Spokane has seen abnormal precipitation. Spokane has had over 18 inches of precipitation, the average precipitation between October 1st and September 30th is just above 16 inches! This coupled with Spokane’s above normal winter snow fall; 61 inches to be exact have led to the Spokane River’s dangerous conditions.
Over the past week and a half the Spokane River has seen increased water levels. Today flows in the Spokane River have reached about 28.5 feet at Monroe Street, according to the gage maintained there by the U.S. Geological Survey. The flood line is 27 feet. Currently the river is traveling at 42,500 cfps (cubic feet per second) and is expected to crest at 43,000 cfps tonight.
Due to the increased river danger and localized flooding Mayor Condon has declared an emergency closing the Spokane River throughout the city. Flooding has forced the city to close Upriver Drive between Mission Avenue and Greene Street, South Riverton under the Greene Street Bridge and Water Avenue at Ash Street. In addition, the Spokane Parks Department has closed the suspension bridges in Riverfront Park because of safety concerns. Portions of the Centennial Trail have also been closed because of flooding. Please stay out of any barricaded areas.
City crews dropped off sandbags to the impacted neighborhoods and are assessing the need for more. The Weather Service currently forecasts that levels will begin to stabilize if the weather remains mild. However, additional localized flooding is possible because Spokane is experiencing record soil saturation. The City will continue to monitor these flooded areas.
The Spokane Police Department and Fire Department are warning people to use extreme caution around the river. Just six inches of moving water can knock an adult off their feet and the strong current can move a person downstream quickly. Do not drive on roadways covered by water either. Just 12 inches of moving water can carry away a car and 18-24 inches can carry away a SUV, van, or truck. Please do not get too close to the river and stay off the river banks. With increased flooding the areas next to the river are eroding causing danger for anyone who gets too close. This erosion has led to large debris in the river, including full trees in some cases. If there is an emergency along the river immediately call 9-1-1, do not wait.