State of emergency declared after rains drown the Peninsula

Peninsula News Network


Clallam County, WA - Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen declares Clallam County in a state of emergency, after some of the heaviest rains on record drench the North Olympic Peninsula.

And if you donít already have boots, youíd better get some because thereís more rain in the forecast.

One look at the Elwha River tells the story, as extraordinarily heavy rains Thursday pushed the North Peninsulaís largest river well beyond its 20 foot flood stage. Huge amounts of rainfall over the Olympic interior had not only the river, but all the side streams well beyond capacity.

Normally, the stretch of the upper Elwha near the Olympic National Park boundary is a fairly placid scene in mid-October. But that certainly isnít the case now. Even the huge boulders on the rapids below the Elwha campground, which rarely disappear entirely, were nearly covered with the muddy, churning water. It was a scene more fitting for November or December.

And while this flooding might have started with melting snow earlier this week, now itís just more and more rain.

Park managers say many of the roads into the interior were either covered with water, or even damaged by all the high water. Some campers on the upper Elwha were stuck out in the storm, when they figured it was better to shelter for the night that try to cross the flood that had covered the road.

The biggest storm problems have continued to be in the West End, where numerous homes along the various tributaries of the Quilleyute River were flooded. There were even reports that residents living in the lower areas of LaPush had to be taken to higher ground.

The rainfall totals from this storm is incredible:

-Port Angeles 3.59 of rain on Thursday

-Shelton 6.59 inches

-Sequim 6.51 inches

- 4.6 inches fell in Forks Thursday, but thereís been nearly 8-inches of rain in just the last few days and rain continued to fall heavily Friday.

-Lilliwaup 14

-Hoodsport 12

We need to point out that its difficult to track all of the official totals, so some of those numbers are hard to compare with one another. Suffice it to say weíre seeing rain totals that even old timers donít remember, with 50 and even 100 year old records being broken.

The stateís emergency declaration will open the way for state agencies to tap into available emergency funding to help repair some of the damage.


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