OKANOGAN- The Okanogan Sheriff’s Office is warning citizens of the extreme danger on the Okanogan River as ongoing flooding issues continue.
By order of the Sheriff of Okanogan County, the river is closed to recreational activities including boating and swimming until further notice.
Officials say the river poses extreme danger due to high flows, cold temperatures and debris such as logs and brush being carried downstream. In a press release issued on May 15th, the Sheriff’s Office asks residents to stay a safe distance from the river and to wear a personal flotation device when placing sandbags or doing other protective measures near the water.
More than 200 responders from around the state continue to solidify protection of critical infrastructure throughout Okanogan County as the water flows continue to intensify. Officials predict with warmer temperatures this week and into the weekend that the water level will rise.
Crews from the state Department of Natural Resources, the Washington Conservation Corps and the US Army Corps of Engineers are working with local agencies to strengthen flood protections in the community.
According to the Washington State Patrol, the flooding began last week when warm temperatures melted a record Canadian snowpack into the Okanogan, Similkameen and Methow Rivers.
Responders are expected to brief the public on flood expectations and protection efforts tonight at a public meeting at Oroville High School at 6:30 p.m.
There are no current evacuation orders in place, according to the WSP, and the Red Cross is available to assist affected residents as needed.
Current road closure information can be found at http://okanogandem.org/map.htm. Additional information and updates can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Okanogan.County.Emergency.Management.