By Chanse Watson Managing Editor
In response to the sustained rainfall in our region combined with melting snow and warm temperatures, emergency management officials in both Kootenai and Shoshone County have issued flood warnings for common problem areas such as Rose Lake and Cataldo.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, has even put its Emergency Operations Center into operation and sent teams out to the St. Joe and Coeur d’Alene river basins in response to rising water levels.
Kootenai County Preparedness Coordinator Ashley Frederick says that many small streams, creeks, and rivers in the local area are already experiencing bank overflow conditions.
One such area is the 4th of July creek at the Rose Lake/ I-90 junction that has overflowed and is causing some roadway flooding.
Not to mention creating a small lake in front of the Conoco Junction Quick Stop.
Kootenai County Emergency Management (KCEM) reports that they have also received several notifications of citizens experiencing basement and crawl space flooding.
They predict that the Coeur D’Alene River will flood Wednesday due to the steady wet conditions and melting snow.
“We ask any citizens affected by flood waters to take extra precautions and prepare themselves for possible flooding,” Frederick said.
When it comes to being prepared for flooding, Shoshone County emergency manager Cory Foster stresses the importance of sandbags.
“What people really should know is the location of every county and municipal facility where sandbags are stored,” Foster said.
“In most places the sandbags are given for free, but they must be replaced.”
The Shoshone County yards in Smelterville and Osburn have sandbags available to individuals should an emergency situation arise.
The other factor to be aware of is that flood waters cause streams, creeks, and rivers to flow at a much faster pace.
The waters are also dangerously cold and can be life threatening.
Frederick stresses to be aware that high water levels often have large debris being carried downstream which poses a danger to boats and people. “Please stay clear from these waters, and keep children and pets far from any flooding areas.”
In the event of flood water over roadways, avoid driving through it as flood waters can wash out the road from underneath and potentially be much deeper than anticipated.
Call 511 to get information on the most recent road conditions.
Lastly, KCEM asks that if you have any neighbors who are elderly, disabled, or could use assistance, please communicate with them to ensure they are safe and do not put yourself or your family in any unnecessary risk situations.
Shoshone County Emergency Management can be reached at 208-512-4555.
Kootenai County Emergency Management can be reached at 208-446-1775.