Latah County prepares for Palouse River to flood

KREM 2's Mark Hanrahan reports on Latah County's flooding concerns.

MOSCOW, Idaho --- Residents in Latah County are preparing for the Palouse River to rise four to five feet by the end of Wednesday.

It has been a tougher-than-normal winter, with ice jams damaging the pilings beneath bridges and causing them to close. Because the hits keep coming, county commissioners are likely to declare a disaster.

“I’ve never seen it this high,” said Ryan Hansen, who lives in Potlatch. “I don’t know, it’s just been wet.”

Potlatch has been under a flood warning with more rain in the forecast, while the rest of the county is facing a flood watch.

“It’s just been too wet,” Hansen said. “You can’t do anything outside.”

He is not the only one with complaints.

“I’ve lived here 13 years and I’ve never seen so much snow,” said Vaughn Silva, another Potlatch resident of this past winter.

 

 

The snow caused plenty of headaches for local towns and their snow removal budgets. Then in February, ice jams damaged the bridges.

“I’ve literally driven up and down the roads in some parts of the county, looking at the rivers,” said Mike Neelon, the county director of disaster services.  “Landslides in the area. Rock movements.”

The flooding coupled with snow removal and other damage has the county drafting a disaster declaration.

“When you start looking at roads, like here in Moscow, the potholes,” he explained. “You look out in the county roads where culverts are filling up with water.”

A disaster declaration would open up the door to potential assistance from the state of Idaho. Neelon said the last time the state has had to help was in 1996, following the legendary winter.

Has this winter been as bad as 1996, KREM 2 asked Neelon? He said no, but they definitely still are in need of help.

“It’s been pretty depressing,” he said.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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