Storm fills Okanogan Co. homes with mud, cuts off highways



Posted on August 22, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 22 at 6:26 PM

OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash.—Heavy rain Thursday night caused massive destruction not far from where wildfires hit earlier in the summer.
“I was cooking dinner when it happened,” said homeowner Janie Lewis. “Water was so powerful, it knocked my husband down.”

Lewis and her husband believed they are lucky to be alive after a muslide took over their home.

PHOTOS: Flooding leaves path of destruction in Okanogan Co.

Lewis said the storm left her furniture floating. The storm left two feet of standing mud in her home.

The storm and mud damaged at least ten buildings in area. Despite the damage, Lewis admitted that it is all just stuff.

“I mean look at our neighbors, look at the people who showed up to help us dig it out,” said Lewis. “You know we're alive and hey, we can always go somewhere else.”

Reports of the heaviest rainfall and flooding were coming in from the Methow Valley near Twisp. People in the area have been sharing video of the flooding on social media sites showing Highway 153 being washed out.

Early Friday, there were reports of two highways partially blocked, causing drivers to stop in the middle of road. There were no reports of injuries. Up to ten cars were cut off by mud on Highway 153, according to troopers. A portion of Highway 20 was closed after mud and rocks were found covering the road. Video of smaller debris slides could also be found on social media.

Many in the area say they have been ordered to shelter in place by the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Frank Rogers could not be reached for an update early Friday. As the rain continues, the order can change to evacuation notices.

Officials in Okanogan County say they started worrying about the potential for mudslides shortly after the state's largest wildfire moved through the area.

A flash flood watch for the area continues through Friday evening.